Monday, July 11, 2011
Not everyone likes sauerkraut. I get that. I don’t think you have to like sauerkraut to say that the fermentation process is amazing. You can take just a few, simple, unassuming ingredients and turn them into something spectacular. Think pickles. Yum!
What I did today was 1/2 a recipe from my Ball Blue Book. I cannot say this enough: If you do not have one of these and think you might want to do some canning, pickling or preserving~ GET ONE. There are amazing sources of inspiration and instruction.
I didn’t decide to blog about making sauerkraut until after I had my cabbage all shredded so I want you to close your eyes and imagine a picture of 10 lbs of shredded cabbage. Do you see it? Ok, next step.
I put the 10 lbs of shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkled it with 6 Tablespoons of canning salt. It needs to hang out in the bowl until it starts looking wilted and is giving off some liquid.
Next, you need to pack your cabbage into a crock. To do this you will put some in and use your hand to evenly press it down into the crock. You want nice, even layers with no large gaps.
My cabbage hadn’t made enough juice to cover it, so I made a brine of 1 quart water and 1 1/2 Tablespoons canning salt. Boil, then cool. Pour it over your cabbage.
The next thing you need to do it weigh your cabbage down. I found a plate that fit but left a little room all around it for the gas bubbles to escape when fermentation starts happening.
Now, I didn’t follow directions exactly (and generally with canning you should). The book says to just cover the cabbage and brine with cheesecloth and then weigh it down. I decided on the plate instead of cheesecloth so I could use a nice heavy weight. Don’t laugh when I show you what I used:
If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know how much I love finding new uses for vinegar! Here is another one :)
The plate and the bottle of vinegar do not go all the way to the edge so I can still see the bubbles and skim of any nasties that may form.
Now all I have to do is wait 3-6 weeks for fermentation to take place and then I’ll have sauerkraut. I’ll keep you updated and show you the process all the way through canning.
So what do you think? Is sauerkraut good or no?