Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's That Time Again!

As the days turn crisp and the leaves begin to fall, cabbages of all sizes start showing up at the farmer's market signaling the time for sauerkraut.  After experimenting with sauerkraut several seasons, last year I stumbled upon the easiest and most fool-proof method I have seen.  I posted about it last year, but since it is sauerkraut time again, I thought it would be helpful to have a little reminder. 

This method was published in a Martha Stewart magazine in an article about a woman who owns a company which makes various flavors of sauerkraut.  The method eliminates the need for large fermenting crocks which not everyone has floating around the house and uses pint size canning jars instead.  It also seems to be easier to take the cabbage through the fermenting process without it going bad. Three pounds of cabbage produces approximately three pints of sauerkraut, and it is easy to increase the quantities as needed since you are essentially using a pound of cabbage per jar. 

This year, the cabbages at the market were huge.  I opted for a six pound cabbage which gave me six jars of kraut.  I started them on October 15, so I am a good way through the process.  The longer it sits, the stronger it will taste, so it is good to begin testing it after about twenty days to see if you like it.  You can add flavors such as caraway or apple, but I like to make it without added flavor as it is more versatile that way.  

The basic things to remember with this method (and others) are below: 
  • You will need a cool (around 70 degree) and dark location for fermentation.
  • You will need to save several good-looking outer cabbage leaves to cover your shredded cabbage before placing the lid on top.  
  • You will need to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the cabbage to extract juice.
  • You will need to loosen the lids on the jars every few days to release pressure (you don't want your ceiling wearing sauerkraut), and you will need to replace any liquid lost with a brine mixture.
  • You will need to store the finished product in the fridge or process it in a boiling water bath for long-term storage. 

If you find yourself with an abundance of cabbage, head over to my original post on this method and try it for yourself.  It is easy and will reward you with great tasting kraut to use through the winter. 

And one more thing, if you have never tried sauerkraut balls, you should head over to Pinterest or search online or a recipe that sounds good to you.  A friend of mine makes these little babies with sausage, sauerkraut, and cream cheese, they are excellent as a holiday appetizer. 

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