Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Homemade Sauerkraut

STOP buying sauerkraut at the damn store! Making sauerkraut at home is easy, cheap and delicious. You just need a non-reactive ceramic or stoneware crock, some cabbage and a few weeks. It's especially handy if you have a garden with enough space to grow a few extra heads of cabbage.

You can also add anything that you would like to flavor the kraut, including onion, garlic, peppers, and carrots. Prepared kraut will keep for weeks in the fridge or is a great idea for your first home canning adventure.

5 pounds cabbages
3 TBSP NON-IDIONIZED sea salt

Let the cabbage sit at room temperature for 24 hours before starting. Wash, quarter, and remove cores. Let dry completely, then shred into dime-thick pieces. Mix the salt and cabbage together very well in the crock. With a wooden spoon, gently tamp and stir the cabbage for a few minutes. If there isn’t enough liquid that has come up past the top of the cabbage, add additional water.

Cover the cabbage very tightly with a clean cloth, then place a tight-fitting clean plate on top of everything and weight the plate with a clean weight (water-filled jars work well).

Allow it to ferment at room temperature for 10-15 days at 70 degrees. If your house is warmer, it will ferment faster, if it is colder, it can take several weeks.

After the first couple days of fermentation, you’ll need to start skimming off the scum layer that forms on top of the liquid. Then replace the plate and weight. Add a bit of fresh saltwater if the brine level drops below the plate. Taste the kraut occasionally to see when it has reached the suitable fermentation flavor. Transfer to a to mason jar and store in the refrigerator or enjoy it as your first canning project, though canning can kill many of the highly beneficial bacteria found in the finished product.

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