On Tuesday I will be hosting the Make it from Scratch! Carnival. Submissions will be accepted for Tuesday’s carnival until midnight PST on Sunday so hurry and get your post in today!
My submission for the week is going to be how to make your own sauerkraut!
Sauerkraut is a food that helps to provide our bodies with probiotics which help to digest our food. When you make your own, you’re assured to have all the “good” guys since your own product is not pasteurized (dead) like most commercial brands. Even Bubbies can’t ship their product without a bit of heat treating to slow down the activity of the good bacteria.
Bubbies is very expensive and the last time I looked was $5 for one quart. Whew! I’m in the wrong business!
Here’s how you do it:
Take 1 head of green cabbage (ideally homegrown or organic, but I’ve made it with regular store bought cabbage many times). Remove the outer leaves. Cut into four and trim out the core. Slice the cabbage very thin. Put the sliced cabbage into a big bowl. Put in a couple of tablespoons of sea salt. I use the head of our meat pounder to bruise the cabbage. After a few minutes, the cabbage starts to release its juices. When you squish a handful of cabbage and it drips, you’ll know it’s time to put it into a jar. Before you put it into the jar, take a taste of it. You want it to taste a little too salty. If it tastes “great” salty, you need a little more salt. Add in more salt until it’s pretty salty. Salt keeps the product from spoiling. After you’re satisfied with the salty taste, stuff it into the jar, and press the cabbage down until the juices are higher than the level of the cabbage. Put a lid on, and set the jar on the counter. You’re going to leave it there for a few days.
As it begins to ferment, you will see bubbles form and you will also see the color the cabbage change from a lively green to a drab olive green. The cabbage will also swell and rise in the jar. You want to try to keep the top of the cabbage covered in the liquids. Sometimes I’ll make some salty water and add in if there aren’t enough juices from the cabbage itself.
After 24 hours, open it up and listen for the sound of any gases releasing. That is a sure sign you are on your way to having sauerkraut. In my house at this time of the year (no warmer than 65°F) it takes four days for my cabbage to turn into sauerkraut.
Taste some every day, when it tastes sour (this will depend on how sour you like it – imagine that – customizing your own sauerkraut sourness!), it is done. Now you can refrigerate it.
Here is a great video by a real professional chef showing how to make sauerkraut. Funny, but somehow, seeing a professional chef, in a professional kitchen has a way to put your mind at ease. 🙂 It’s good for you! And cheap! My Grandma would be proud! 🙂
This first picture is the sauerkraut when I first put it into the jar. It was a pretty good sized head and packed down to just over a quart.
This next picture you can see the color of the sauerkraut in the middle has changed to an olive color and is much more drab looking than the picture above.
The other jars are fermented radishes on the right, and Cortido to the left. Cortido is a Latin American style of sauerkraut that includes carrots, onions, oregano and hot pepper flakes. The radishes are from my garden. I let them grow way too big and wondered how in the world would I be able to eat them all. So I shredded them coarsely in my processor and added salt and let them sit out for four days. They taste great, very much like sauerkraut.
Are you brave enough to try this recipe?