Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

October 6, 2008

100 Ft Diet and Harvest Keepers - Sauerkraut

At the beginning of September I wrote that I had decided to try my hand at making some homemade, very simple recipe, traditional Sauerkraut. That's it below, when I had just put it into the jar and crock. I only made a batch that called for 5 lbs of shredded cabbage and used some cabbage from our garden. Cabbage that was specifically planted with this idea in mind. Now I've never really been a huge sauerkraut eater; it's not something that we ate a lot of as I grew up, but I decided a few years back that it was something I wanted to "try again" and you know, I liked it. It wasn't something that I would get cravings for or anything but it was alright. So why make a concerted effort to grow cabbage, and make the stuff from scratch right? The answer is pretty simple actually. Because this is one of those foods that is easy to make, is very healthy, can be used as a condiment or as a main course dish and most importantly is a food that can be stored for long periods with simple methods making it a very good staple food to know how to make.
And now, a month and a week later, I have this. I jar with some slowly lacto-fermented cabbage, that when smelled is absolutely amazing! I now get why this stuff got to be so darned popular in the first place. The brine that developed around the cabbage is a slightly salty, almost kosher pickle tasting flavor and the cabbage itself still retains a lot of it's original texture, while being soft enough for us to know it's done. Here's a closeup.
I was worried about the liquid getting funky or moldy while it sat in the cold storage, but brine filled plastic bag that sealed the top off worked perfectly. That is absolutely the way to go by the way.

After we took the kraut out of the jar and started warming it over the stove, the smell of it was making our mouths water. Add a beer boiled brat, some steamed dill potatoes and popovers and you've got yourself a German dinner extraordinaire!
The best part of it all was that we only used a little more that 1/4 of what I made, and better yet, I harvested a 6 lb cabbage tonight that's going to make more of this tasty stuff for the winter.

If you've never tried it, and even if your not traditionally a Kraut lover, I encourage you to give this very simple recipe a try. I have to verify it, but I believe it was just 3 tbsp of salt (pickling preferably) to each five lbs of cabbage. I used the Salt Lake salt that I made a couple of months back. It worked great and helped to make this a totally local food product! You add the salt to the cabbage in a large bowl and mix it with your hands well, then pack in a crock or the largest jar you have (food safe buckets are also supposed to work well in place of large crocks.) and cover the top with either a weighted plate, or better yet, a large brine filled bag. Let it sit in a cool (60-70 deg F) room for a few weeks, cleaning the cover off regularly and voila! Sauerkraut. Or better yet, go to your library and rent "The joy of pickling" and check out the many different recipes that they have in it.
Good luck, and go make some Kraut!


Nate said...

this seems totally appropriate during the last weekend of Octoberfest. Looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

I tried to make kraut this summer and failed miserably. I did not use the brine-filled bag on top but I think that may be the answer. I will try again that way for sure!

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Looks delicious! I have some cabbage just finsishing in the garden destined for saurkraut. Never made it but have been meaning to for a few years. Great tip with the brine filled bag. Do you wash the outside of the bag every so often?

AgrarianLife from Freedom Gardens

Robbyn said...

That's been on our list of things to try making (we just overcame our Kombucha fear)...now I've got to try it. Gosh, that looks good!

Sadge said...

Sauerkraut is so soft when it's canned. I love the still-crunchy texture of slow-fermented crock-stored sauerkraut, cold right out of the crock. I've got a few storage cabbages I didn't get root-pruned quick enough and they split, so I'll be making kraut any day now. Putting the crock in the cool cellar slows the fermenting time to eight weeks, but then it lasts until Spring (or until it's gone!)

P~ said...

Sadge, I have never even heard of root pruning, but I googled it and voila, that's what I've been needing this year. I had some great heads that split wide open this year. Thanks for the heads up. !!

Hope all your 'kraut turns out well all. good luck and let me know how that brine bag works out for you.

BTW AgrarianLife, Yes, you do need to. It will start to form the type of mold skin that would normally form on the top of the kraut. This way it's much easier to remove, just pull the bag out, rinse with warm water, and replace. Also, very nice blog you have. What a beautiful place you have.