Crunchy Caraway Joyce Oroz

I recently learned about the health benefits of homemade sauerkraut. And it just happens to be delicious! Luckily I had a daughter and granddaughter to teach me how to make the stuff. We chopped up five cabbages and dumped it all into a plastic bin (slightly bigger than a breadbox). We added one and a half tablespoons of pickling salt and a small handful of caraway seeds. (fennel seeds are good too) We took turns kneading and scrunching handfuls of the mixture for about twenty minutes—until the batch became “watery” and shouted, “Uncle!” We stuffed the mixture into three canning jars—two medium and one large. We pressed down on the cabbage over and over until the liquid rose above the cabbage. A plastic lid was placed directly on the cabbage with a bottle of water weighting it down. A couple hours later we put tops on the jars and waited three days before opening the jars to burp them (open and close the lid to let air out). The jars rested at room temperature (ideal is 67). We sampled our work a week later to see how the kraut tasted. The sauerkraut can take from one week to three weeks to arrive at perfection. Just taste it now and then and when you like it, put the jar in the fridge. It will still be good a year later! It is not only delicious and good for digestion—it’s indestructible!

I am including official instructions in case I forgot something.

Things You'll Need
Mature cabbage heads
Pickling (non-iodized) salt
Large mixing bowl
Table spoon
Large sharp knife
Kraut cutter or Cabbage shredder
Measuring scale
Large plate
Jars of water - weight
Muslin cloth

The Recipe: Sauerkraut is a mixture of 3 Tbs salt and 5# cabbage.
The salt frees cell water from the shredded cabbage leaves. The cell water and the salt forms a brine that aids in fermentation and preservation. Batch size is limited only by krock size!
Remove the cabbage outer leaves. You want a clean firm head. Quarter the cabage. Cut out the core.
Shred the cabbage. This can be done with a sharp knife. Large amounts of cabbage can be quickly shredded.
Weigh the cabbage. (Remember to deduct the weight of the bowl!) Add (3) Tbs of pickling (noniodized) salt for every (5) lbs shredded cabbage. Mix well.
Place salted cabbage in the crock. Pound down thoroughly. You can use your fist, a potato masher, or the end of a baseball bat. Be sure whatever you use is clean. Brine should begin to form as you pound down the shredded cabbage.
Repeat this process until your cabbage is gone or your cabbage is 3" - 4" from the top of the crock. You should now have a layer of brine 1" - 3" deep on the top of your compacted, shredded cabbage.
Press a large clean plate into the top of the cabbage. The plate should be an inch or so smaller than the crock. The idea is to force the cabbage down below the surface of the brine. The brine protects the fermenting cabbage from the air.
Add a weight to the top of the plate to hold it down and keep the cabbage submerged. Any clean heavy object will work. Grandma used a nice smooth stone she kept just for the purpose. We use (4) quart canning jars filled with water.
Cover the top of the crock with muslin cloth to keep it clean. Fermentation will begin in a day or so. Bubbles will form as the cabbage ferments. Skim off any skum that forms every day or two. After 3-4 weeks the bubbles will stop. Your sauerkraut is complete!
Sauerkraut can be stored in the same crock in which it was fermented. This is how the old timers stored sauerkraut. We process ours into canning jars.

Tips & Warnings
· Good sauerkraut starts with good cabbage. Mature, firm, dense, clean heads make the best kraut. Be sure to remove any damaged areas.
· Be sure to use canning or pickling salt. Canning salt does not contain iodine. Iodine can make canned products mushy and discolored.
· Take the time to mix your salt thoroughly with the cabbage to insure uniform distribution.
· Spoilage is rarely a problem if the cabbage is properly submerged below the brine. However, discoloration or mold is an indication of a problem. Discard this material. The remaining material is fine in our experience. (Mold can form on the surface of the brine if you wait too long between skimming.)


Post a Comment