Monday, January 11, 2010

Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut

My MIL gave me this awesome 2 gallon crock. It didn't have a lid, but that is OK because I didn't need one to make some naturally fermented sauerkraut. You can ferment all kinds of vegetables, but I thought I'd try making sauerkraut and I also did a quart jar of apple kraut (not pictured). I'm amazed at how much cabbage you can get into a 2 gallon crock! I shredded (or sliced - can't remember which) it in my food processor, then used my handy dandy mix and chopper from The Pampered Chef. Works great for getting the cells to break up without chopping the veggies to smithereens.

Then I used my handy dandy OSU stainless steel water bottle (filled with water to add some weight) to tamp the shredded cabbage down. See fermented vegetables process in a previous post.

How's this for creativity? I discovered a gallon sized jar filled with couscous was the perfect amount of weight needed to keep the cabbage under the liquid it creates as it naturally ferments.

I put an old stained dish towel and used some scrapbook fiber (a color I had yet to use) and tied it around the crock should any bugs or dust try to find their way into the crock. After pushing down on the jar for a week to get as much air as possible out of the sauerkraut, I set it on my dryer to ferment. I did this process 2 months ago and it is just now getting fermented enough to eat, although I want to let it ferment longer to get as many health benefits as possible from it as we can. In the summer, my ferment definitely happened quicker. We keep out house around 70 degrees in the winter (60 at night), so it is taking longer this time. When it is done to our tastes, we can either repack the sauerkraut into jars or we can leave it in the crock and take some out as we want it. Like that idea!

Update: After two months of letting it ferment, I took the towel off. I learned I should have checked it periodically more often. The kraut under the jar was fine, but I had about two inches of moldy cabbage that I had to scrape off because I didn't make sure the liquid was above the cabbage line. Due to liquid evaporation next time I'm going to have to check it weekly to make sure the water is at the right level. Oh well, lesson learned! The kraut under the moldy cabbage was fine. After scrapping the moldy cabbage out completely, I took the cabbage out and repacked them into quart jars, pounding it down to get out the air out, one layer at a time. I tucked some new cabbage leaves around the top of the jar, leaving plenty of head space. I filled it the rest of the way with a brine (1 cup of water mixed with 1 Tbl sea salt).  I lined the top of the jar with plastic wrap and put a plastic lid on the jar. I'm storing it on a shelf in my kitchen.  Posted by Picasa


Cat said...

That looks pretty easy, Jackie! I'd love to taste some applekraut too. My mom marinates a pork roast in vermouth for 2 days, then pours that off and covers it in kraut in her crock pot. My sister's family LOVES it...and they are Jewish!

Andi (RrlScrapGal) said...

Awesome post!!! My husband just ordered a couple of crocks for this very purpose! We have three heads of green cabbage 'waiting' for the crocks to arrive...

I have to share this with him!!!

Love it love it love it:)

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Oops, I didn't mean to write 2 lb crock, I meant 2 gallon crock. I just edited my post to reflect the correct measurement.

It was easy! That recipe sounds divine!

I'm so excited that you guys are going to try this! Let me know how your's turns out. I bet you'll need more than 3 heads of cabbage. You won't believe how much you can get in these crocks. Happy Krauting!

christy rose said...

I can not believe how adventurous you are with recipes. I love to try new things too. But, I do not think that I would try fermenting vegetables. You go girl!

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Interesting! I wouldn't mind making Saurerkraut. Maybe this summer when I have plenty of cabbage.

RaD said...

Mmmmm... Sounds good, I like saurkraut. And that pork roast Cat was talking about sounds really good too!

Anonymous said...

Yum - Homemade Sauerkraut. Looks so pretty with the purple cabbage in it. My mother use to make it when I was younger and I didn't appreciate it then. But last year upon discovering Nourishing Traditions I decided to try again - and for me there is no other. I will never buy store bought sauerkraut again.



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