Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Traditional Sauerkraut

After a few days of gazing at my fermenting crock, I purchased my cabbage and readied myself for action.  With a large bowl in hand; some natural, uniodized sea salt; spring water; and my handy dandy spurtle - my Scottish porridge stirrer that I was using as a tamper.  I was ready to go!  Here is my recipe for sauerkraut.
  • 3-5 kilograms of finely shredded cabbage (reserve some rinsed outer leaves to pack on the top of the cabbage to act as a seal and prevent the finely shredded cabbage from floating too much)
  • 3-5 Tbsps. uniodized sea salt (1 Tbsp of salt per kg of cabbage)
  • 2 tsps. whole black peppercorns
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • Unchlorinated spring water as needed
  • A suitable fermenting vessel(s)
  • A weight to hold the cabbage below the brine
Shred the cabbage and toss with salt.  This can be done in one large bowl, or a bit at a time.  I did about a half a kilogram at a time.  I tossed with fine sea salt and then packed it into my fermenting vessel - making sure that I distributed the peppercorns and bay leaves randomly throughout.

I used my spurtle to bruise the cabbage and my hands to pack it into the crock as tight as it would go.  When I had packed in all the cabbage, I waited about an hour to let the cabbage release as much water as possible.  Then, I tightly packed the outer leaves of the cabbage on top of my shredded cabbage and added a couple of weights on top of  the mixture.  You should be aiming for a half inch to an inch of brine to cover the cabbage leaves and/or the small weights within your crock.  If the cabbage has not released enough water then simply add a bit of unchlorinated spring water mixed with a bit more sea salt - maybe about 1 teaspoon per cup.   Pour this on top of your cabbage mixture with the idea that the cabbage is completely submerged in brine.

After all this I popped my lid on, filled the water reservoir and set a date on my calendar to open the
Kraut with weights in crock.
crock up and see how I had done.  Top up reservoir with water as needed to maintain the seal.  After about two weeks sitting on my counter, at temperatures of about 70-72 degrees F, the crock was pretty much done burping kraut gas.  I left my kraut another two weeks beyond this and then opened it up.  In cool weather you might need to leave it longer.

My sauerkraut was perfect after four weeks!  There was no mold in the crock or on the cabbage.  It was crunchy, tangy and with the perfect balance of salt and sour.  From here, I put the
Perfection after four weeks!
kraut in sterilized jars and put in the fridge.  We have been enjoying it ever since.

First batch of kraut all jarred and ready for eating!

 Click here for a recommended book on fermenting.

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