Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adventures in Sauerkraut

I have been on the phone this morning with the doctor's office regarding a rash I have had since early September. It is getting worse and I can't figure out what is causing it. I was hoping he might have a clue after all the blood tests he ordered two weeks ago. I have changed laundry detergent thinking that might be it. Then changed my shower soap. Then we took all the memory foam off our bed and totally cleaned and vacuumed everything in the bedroom. I hope he has some answers for me when he comes back to the office on Thursday.

Today I promised you a peephole into our sauerkraut making adventure. First off, I have to tell you this is my husband's "thing"! I help but it is HIS "baby"!!! He first became interested in making sauerkraut when he read online about the health benefits of naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut and Kombucha Tea--especially the probiotics. 

30L Harsch Fermenting Crock ready for cabbage

Our first try with sauerkraut was in August. We used our 15L Harsch Fermenting Crock and filled it a little more than half full of cabbage shredded with my Pampered Chef Mandoline (which was a little small for the job) and salt.  We put the stones in, the lid on, water in the well around the lid and waited four very long weeks before tasting...it was DELICIOUS! Now, I realize some of you don't like sauerkraut and will never like sauerkraut but we like it a lot at our house so this will not be nasty medicine to us. Knowing we would be making more sauerkraut we went to trusty Cabela's (online, of course) and purchased a Weston Heavy Duty Slaw Board and Cabbage Shredder. Now, this baby can do the job!!! Well, fast forward to Thanksgiving Day and we only have 3 quarts of sauerkraut left so...

Cabbage Shredder with shredded cabbage

Hubby purchases several large, firm heads of cabbage, washed up our 30L Harsch Fermenting Crock and we set to work Sunday afternoon. To put the photo in perspective we were using a huge stainless steel bowl and the cabbage shredder is almost 2 feet long and 8.7" wide. I think we used seven large heads of cabbage. Hubby mixed each bowl of shredded cabbage with 2 Tablespoons of Celtic Sea Salt then put it in the crock and tamped it down with an old fashioned potato masher. The idea is to get the cabbage and salt to make some juice. The more natural juice you get, the less water you have to put in.

Shredded cabbage and salt tamped down in crock
When the crock was 3/4 full of tamped down shredded cabbage mixed with salt, we just had to put the stones in, pour in cooled salted water to cover the stones, put the lid on and fill the well around the lid with water (which keeps the air out). Now we just have to keep it at a temperature between 68 and 72 degrees (F) for a few days so it can get a good start. In about 4 weeks we can taste it to see if it's ready to eat:) We will then put the crock in our root cellar and take out of it for eating as needed.

As I said, Hubby does most of the work especially since he doesn't want me using anything sharp after I cut myself on Thanksgiving! I give him lots of encouragement though:) 

A book we have found very helpful in the whole sauerkraut making process is Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home by Klaus Kaufmann, DSc and Annelies Schoneck. We are looking forward to pickling more vegetables via fermentation next summer/fall and this book tells how to do it.

I hope you have enjoyed our little foray into making sauerkraut. Maybe you'll even try it on your own. Maybe you already have???

Have you been on any culinary adventures lately? I would love to hear about them.

Have a great day. I hope to have something crafty to show you tomorrow!


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