Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there!
This morning was a big morning here, as Jim’s sauerkraut that we have had fermenting on the counter all week is finally complete and ready for the fridge! Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that some people live for this shit (like Jim), but after tasting it for myself (yes, I ate a small chunk), I can honestly say it isn’t for me. It isn’t bad tasting, it just isn’t that pleasant either. I think that maybe it is something I will learn to appreciate with other foods (like sausage), instead of just eating it on its own (as it is kind of overpowering). On my scale for assorted condiments, I give it a solid 6, and Jim gives it a 10.
Now, I did do a comparison of smells between this stuff and the store-bought stuff we picked up a couple weeks ago, and I can say that I wouldn’t put the store-bought stuff in my mouth. Not today. Not ever.
It’s actually super easy to make kraut. We looked up a bunch of different ideas on Pinterest, and we just kind of winged our own recipe out of the 6 or so we found. Totally try this recipe to amaze people at your next summer barbecue!
makes: about 2ish litres (depending on the size of your cabbage)
time: 20 minutes to prep, 7-10 days to sit
– 1 head of cabbage
– 2 tbsp. salt
– pepper (optional)
1. slice up cabbage into small strips (as seen below). we left ours a little on the chunky side, as Jim said that most kraut is a little mushy for his liking. by keeping it larger, we are hoping it doesn’t mush up as it sits (again, this is our trial run). remember that there is a core in the cabbage, so don’t slice that up… just feed it out to your chickens
2. put half of your cabbage into a big bowl, sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of salt, add rest of cabbage and sprinkle with remaining salt
3. *this step is critical* massage the cabbage and salt together for 10 minutes (minimum!). I told Jim that this step was huge and he didn’t believe me. this is what starts to break down your cabbage, gets it all juicy, and helps kickstart the fermenting process. massage it just like you would someone’s back… rubbing thoroughly, and it’s ok to get a little rough. ensure you do this for at least 10 minutes. you will know you’re doing it right when your cabbage reduces in size and starts getting soft. here you can add cracked black pepper, hot peppers, any spices you might want to add. DO NOT add anything excessive that will kill the fermentation of the cabbage (i.e. no vinegar, nothing overly spicy etc.). Jim added one of his homemade hot peppers and a bit of cracked black pepper for a little zest.
4. when your 10 minutes is up, transfer your kraut into a container it can sit in for 7-10 days, keeping the juices that came out in the massaging process in with the cabbage (this is ‘sauer’ing liquid!). some people prefer a crock, bowls etc. to keep their kraut in, but we just used a 2 litre mason jar, plus a 1 litre jar (our cabbage was huge though!), adding in a weight on top to keep pressure on the cabbage (we used small jars of strawberry jam… using everything we have here). this helps push out the liquid of the cabbage and gives the kraut some excellent fermenting juices
5. cover your kraut with a dishtowel (no lids! they will blow off!) and sit in a cool, dark area for 7-10 days, tasting every day from day 5-10. Once it gets ‘sauer’ enough for you, ensure it is covered in its liquid (add clean water if necessary to cover), lid loosely, and place into the fridge. the coolness of the fridge will halt the fermentation process, and your kraut won’t get much stronger from this point
6. enjoy on summer smokies!!!
Laurie & Jim