4 gallon crock + 2o pounds of shredded cabbage + pickling salt = A whole lot of sauerkraut!
This was my first time making sauerkraut and after reading many recipes I decided on the old fashioned way to do it. I used the recipe out of Putting Food By, by Janet Greene and made it in an old family crock. My Dad gave this crock to me not too long ago. I'm sure he intended as decoration or storage (it came with 35+ year old news papers of the moon landing and other major headlines). I don't think he had intended me to use it for a more practical purpose and maybe after the 5Th quart of gifted sauerkraut he'll hope he had never given it to me. I just love the idea of using it for like they did back when it was made in 1908.
I shredded cabbage from the garden using my Kitchen Aid mixer attachment to do all the shredding, it work fabulously and went really fast! I layered two pounds of shredded cabbage in the bottom of a 4 gallon crock with a 2 1/2 teaspoons of pickling salt. I then packed the cabbage down with the bottom of a jar and repeated until I reached twenty pounds of cabbage. The cabbage leaches water and creates a brine with the salt (this happens astonishingly fast).
I covered the cabbage with a cotton cloth, placed a plate that fit snugly in the crock and put a gallon jar full of water on top to keep the plate under the brine level. It is important to change the cloth and clean the plate everyday, the recipe says to scrape the "scum" of the top, but so far I have not seen any, only yellows brine.

Twice I have had to make a week solution o brine to
add to the crock to keep the liquid above the cabbage, 11/2 teaspoons of pickling salt to 1 cup water.
A few of the recipes I have read disagree on the time to let it ferment, 10 days to 4 weeks is what I am going with.
The fermentation period also depends on the temperature at which you keep the sauerkraut. The lower the temp the longer the process, the most important thing is to keep the temp as constant as possible and never above 72 degrees (it will spoil).
I am going to can mine once it is ferment because I could never use 20 pounds of sauerkraut fast enough (I can't even imagine trying) and it would be nice to give some away (isn't it just what everyone wanted). You could keep it in the crock and use what you need as long as you keep the brine level about the cabbage. I'll let you know how the canning goes.

1 comment:

marisa said...

Mmmm...I can't eat a hot dog without sauerkraut, and I can just imagine how much better it is fresh!

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