Sauerkraut

10/18/2013

kraut

I made sauerkraut for the first time a couple of weeks ago from leftover cabbage that didn’t get eaten when we had our fish taco party. It was way easier than I thought it was going to be, and it surprising tasted great! (For fermented vegetables, that is.) I gave my two-cents worth about fermentation awhile back, but kraut here definitely falls in that category. According to Michael Pollan in his book Cooked, he claims that the inexpensive kraut you buy in the store has been heated to the point where all the beneficial bacteria are no longer living. What’s the point in eating stinky vegetables if you aren’t going to get the bacterial benefits?

To make it, I chopped up a head of red cabbage (any kind of cabbage will work fine.) All the blogs I’ve read about fermenting things say that it is not an exact science. So, the instructions and ingredient amounts are vague here, but I got my recipe from other vague recipes, and it turned out just fine.

I chopped up the cabbage and put it into my crock made specifically for kraut making! But any large jar or container will do.

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After chopping your cabbage, put a layer of it down in the bottom of the jar/container. Then sprinkle with liberal amounts of kosher salt. Do this again and again until all the cabbage is gone. I used a potato masher to pound down the leaves in order to get the water out of the leaves; the salty water will preserve the cabbage and allow for the bacteria to thrive.

Put a plate on the top of your cabbage so it covers the entire top. And then put a weight to hold it down. I filled a mason jar with water and put it on top. Leave it sit for a couple of hours. If the water in the container hasn’t reached the bottom of the plate, add 1/8 c salt to a cup of water and dump it in. Do this until the water reaches the top of the plate.

Let your kraut sit on the counter at room temperature for about 2-3 days. Again, this might differ in the summer compared to the winter. Try it and see if it’s sour enough for you at the end of the couple of days. If not, let it sit for a couple more. If it’s perfect, fill mason jars with the cabbage and water, and stick it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. It should last for probably a year in the fridge.

kraut

In honor of Oktoberfest, we ate it on venison brats made from Gary’s brother’s deer he got last fall, and my homemade mustard. The mustard recipe is coming soon.

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