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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mouth-watering kraut: step one

Franklin (and the chickens) wanted to eat all our cabbage!
Is it odd that I have a head-full of memories associated with sauerkraut of all things?  Whether or not it's strange, I get nostalgic for this nearly calorie-less, antioxidant-packed food. As a child, I absolutely loved sauerkraut-and-sausage night. My freshmen-year college roommate and I bought cans of Frank's kraut to eat with Ritz crackers. It was nearly guilt free. Plus, it was salty and cheap. Our floor mates didn't appreciate the smell....but I recall many "deep" conversations (mostly about boys) occurring over a package of buttery crackers and a tin can of fermented cabbage. And, I remember wanting so badly to have salty, "real" sauerkraut on my travels in Germany to find (to my disappointment) extra spices in the mix. Apparently, my perception of "real" is the Americanized version?!

My tin-can sauerkraut was divine and beyond satisfactory until Mom and Dad brought home a homemade jar from their friends' house. This duo canned a cupboard full of sauerkraut from their garden every year. When we were fortunate enough to obtain a magical Ball-jar full, I couldn't keep my fingers out. I paced back and forth from the living room to the kitchen continuously on several occasions to sneak a finger full.I found a near substitute in Bubbie's Sauerkraut, but I've nevertheless longed for the homemade-by-someone-I-know kind.  Hence, I was more than excited when we decided to finally buy a crock to make fermented foods. Today, we harvested three heads of our cabbage. We shredded those three along with two that we had saved from our CSA boxes.

We washed all five heads, cut out the cores, shredded the remaining cabbage, and got the crock ready.

Then, we put roughly three  handfuls of cabbage in the crock, added about a teaspoon of pickling salt over the top, and then repeated the process until all of the cabbage was inside the crock.
Salt/cabbage mix
 Next, we used a plate to cover and weigh down the cabbage and salt mixture. Then, we put a heavy, full glass jar on top of the plate and covered that with a damp towel.
Waiting ...
We'll be keeping an eye on this for a few weeks, I guess. Then, hopefully, everything will meld together the way it's supposed to, and we'll be processing quarts of kraut.

My mouth is honestly watering just thinking about it.


  1. You got me at the part about sauerkraut! I know its early, however, I have to ask, are you using vinegar in this or are you using a different acid. I ask because I can't have vinegar because of bleeding ulcers, and I miss pickled products, esp. sauerkraut!!

  2. Hey Scot ~ Thanks for the comment. We actually won't be adding anything other than salt to the cabbage. Have you checked out the book, Wild Fermentation? It gives a really good explanation about how the salt is all you need. I can understand your desire for some pickles and kraut!! Maybe this will be the answer!?!?

    I'm excited to watch this process and to try our final product. Stay tuned!