Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Make Sauerkraut


If your grandmother made sauerkraut, it is likely that she used this recipe or one very close to it. Huge stoneware crocks of sauerkraut were a common sight in spring houses and cellars on farms in the past, and farm children were assigned the task of skimming bad kraut and scum off the tops of these crocks. This recipe has been adapted from one sent us by Susan Ferris of the Maine Organic Food Association. (this is out of a book called "Stocking Up" )

50 lbs. of Cabbage
1 lb. of salt (1 1/2 cups)

Remove the outer leaves and any undesirable portions from firm,mature heads of cabbage; wash and drain. Cut into halves or quarters; remove the core. Use a shredder or sharp knife to cut the cabbage into thin shreds about the thickness of a dime.
In a container, thoroughly mix 3 Tablespoons salt with 5 lbs. shredded cabbage. Let the salted cabbage stand for several minutes to wilt slightly. This allows packing without excessive breaking or bruising of the shreds.
Pack the salted cabbage firmly and evenly into a large,clean crock or jar. Using a wooden spoon or tamper, or your hands, press down firmly until the juice comes to the surface. Repeat the shredding, salting, and packing of cabbage until the crock is filled to within 3 or 4 inches of the top.
Cover cabbage with a clean, thin, white clothe and tuck the edges down against the inside of the container. Cover with a plate, round  that fits inside the container so that the cabbage is not exposed to the air. Put a weight on top of the cover so the brine comes to the cover but not over it. A glass jar or heavy duty plastic bag filled with water makes a good weight.
The amount of water in the glass jar or plastic bag can be adjusted to give just enough pressure to keep the fermenting cabbage covered with brine.
Formation of gas bubbles indicates fermentation is taking place. A room temp. of 68 is best for fermenting cabbage. Fermentation is usually completed in 4-6 weeks.
To store the sauerkraut, heat to simmering . Do not boil. Pack hot sauerkraut into sterilized, hot jars and cover with hot brine to 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Adjust jar lids. Process in a boiling water bath 15 mins. for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.

Our favorite recipe with sauerkraut is cubed potatoes,sauerkraut, and sliced sausage, all boiled together. Easy dinner. To our daughters distress though , none of our son in laws , share the love of this delightful dish! Our daughter in law though fixes it for our son ...thanks beth for carrying that on.

Good luck Cro, sorry its taken me so long!

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