Thursday, October 25, 2012

Making Sauerkraut

A few weeks ago, a new friend gave me 3 heads of cabbage. Dontcha love free stuff?!!! Anyway, I decided that I wanted to make some sauerkraut. So I did. Seriously, this stuff is sooo doggone easy to make, I don't know why I didn't make this before. I saw a demonstration of the process in my Homestead Blessings-The Art of Canning video.

Here's how it goes:
Shred your cabbage to the size you prefer it. I used the grater blade on my food processor but a hand grater works fine, too.

 Once you have the cabbage all grated, start squeezing your cabbage. Water will start running out of it. That's a good thing. Generously sprinkle on salt. The salt will help get the water out of it and it works to preserve the cabbage during the fermentation. There is no measurement for the salt. Just taste test every so often and stop when it is your kind of salty.

See all that water coming out?

 Once you have a nice soggy, drippy mess of cabbage and water (it took me about 5 minutes of squeezing) pack the cabbage and liquid into clean jars. You can use canning jars but any jar with a lid will work. The jars won't be pressure or water bath canned so you can use any lid you want. You don't have to worry about getting a good seal. When you fill the jar, pack the cabbage in there pretty good and leave at least and 1 1/2 inch headspace. As the food ferments, it will shrink up a bit but the liquid may bubble over and out of the jar. This is perfectly fine!!! Just wipe up the mess and keep the jars stored on some newspaper or an old towel so it won't make a mess of your cabinets.
Once the jars are filled, put the lids on but don't tighten them too much. If the liquid needs to escape, it is better for it to leak out of the jar then to explode it!
The cabbage will need to sit for about 2-3 weeks before you eat it. However, they will remain edible for up to 2 years if stored properly (in a dark, cool room).
24 hours later, you can see the bubbles forming at the top. The cabbage has already shrunk down quite a bit. Cannot wait to have this with some sausage!

This whole process took me less than an hour and I have 3 quart jars full of vitamin C goodness! I will warn you that your kitchen will smell...ummmm....cabbage-y. You know how cabbage smells, right? Hubs thought someone backed up the toilet when he walked in and got a good whiff. At least it dissapates quickly with the windows open!

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