Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Homemade Sauerkraut

I wasn't going to make any sauerkraut this season, but then I don't know what else to do with those well-formed green heads of cabbage emerging in the garden.  So, here we go again:  I am going to make kraut quick and easy and in small batches (2 Mason jars).

First, I removed the less attractive leaves, cut the one head into eight (8) wedges, and removed the core.  Then I thinly sliced the wedges crosswise, transferred the cabbage into a mixing bowl, and sprinkled with about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt (non-iodine).  For more taste, I added a tablespoon of caraway seeds.

Here comes the hard work:  I squeezed and massaged the cabbage, salt, and seeds with my hands for about 5 minutes.  The work is almost done.  At this point, I packed the cabbage and the liquid into a Mason jar holding two cups.  Try this without spilling!

It is advantageous to hold the cabbage down in the jar.  For this purpose, I filled a slimmer jar/glass with water and put it inside the Mason jar with the cabbage.  Cover the jar with a cloth, if you prefer, and place it on a saucer because liquid may overflow.

It is important that the jar be checked once in a while for the next three days and tamp down on the cabbage if it is above the liquid.

If there is not enough liquid to cover the cabbage, dissolve one (1) teaspoon salt (non-iodine) in one cup of water.  Add to the cabbage as necessary.

After about three days, the sauerkraut may be ready.  It is certainly ready for tasting.  If it tastes good to you, it's "done."  When you do consider your kraut done, remove the jars with water (the weights), screw on a cap, and store in the fridge.

Fermented cabbage may be kept in the fridge for two months or more, but be cautious about moldy parts on the surface which should be removed and discarded.

For more information, check out Sandor Katz's "Wild Fermentation."

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