Saturday, February 27, 2010

making sauerkraut

We eat sauerkraut every night with dinner. Everyone eats it- with the exception of Mason (obviously) and it was getting pretty expensive to buy when a jar costs almost $6. I've decided to try and make some of my own and see if that will save us some money while still giving us the benefits of the fermented vegetable.

I took the recipe from the Nourishing Traditions Book and adapted it a little.

First, I cored and chopped my cabbage. I started with one head because I was unsure of how much sauerkraut it would make. My one head weighed 1lb 5oz.

Next, I put it into a bowl and added 2 Tbsp of sea salt. Do not use iodized salt because it does something weird in the process.

Then I started mashing. NT said to mash for 10 minutes. I didn't have exactly the right tools to do the job. I always prefer to use wood over stainless steel but my big wood spoon was not cutting it for this job so I turned to the potato masher.

I mashed and mashed and mashed- that was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I then put it into a quart sized, wide mouth mason jar and used a wooden spoon to press it down.

You want all of the cabbage to be pressed down firmly and all of the brine to have risen to the top. Your brine should cover the cabbage in order to keep the cabbage from rotting.

If your brine does not adequately cover the cabbage you can add a mixture of 1 cup water to 1 Tbsp sea salt. After I snapped this photo I thought I'd better add a little water so I used 1/2c water to 1/2 Tbsp salt- just to make sure everything was covered. The more salt you use though, the longer it takes to ferment.
I'll go back and check the cabbage in a day or two and check on it's progress!


Cindy said...

It looks really good. Good for you. One of the best preservation techniques you can use!

I don't mash mine. I did the first couple of batches, then decided that it made the kraut too mushy. Also, I put whey in - about a tsp for this size. You can also add spices and other veggies.... I especially like carrots, parsnips and onions.

Congratulations! It looks really yummy.

Islay said...

Is sauerkraut actually nice though? And does it have nutrients? We can grow cabbages incredibly easily, but I'm always stuck for ideas to do with them and have always been a bit scared of kraut!

Dee said...

Even though I hate this food, I do appreciate the effort and time that goes into it's making!


Leslie said...

wow what a great idea...looks pretty easy. i love it but my husband claims to hate it. i did not know that it had great nutritional value. i am intrigues

Kim said...

We eat a lot of kraut too. A couple of years ago, we got a great deal on some 8lb. heads, so we mass produced kraut. There were 5 kraut crocks (different sizes) going. I decided to go visit our oldest daughter the same weekend that they were ready to be water bathed, so my hubby and 8 other kids put up more than 300 pints! Hubby didn't want to do that again, so now we just do a jar or two at a time! ;0)

We had to "mush" our cabbage down with a wooden baseball bat!!

KaHolly said...

Yummy! I like sauerkraut, but hardly ever eat it. Hope it comes out good. Yu'll have to remember to let us know! ~karen

Anonymous said...

I want some! =) I just don't want to make it...looks awesome! =)

Lisa @ Life with 4! said...

Really!!!???... you eat it every night!
I don't know if i could do that and I know my husband would say, "No way!!"

Hope it works out for you though!

Sunny said...

Good for you! We have made our own kraut many times. After filling the jars I set them in the extra bathtub and let them work. Then when it's done working I cold pack for 30 min after it begins to boil. Hope yours turns out well! So much good Vit C in there...

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