You don’t have to be Slavic, Germanic or Baltic to like sauerkraut, even though I’m all three and then some.
Doesn’t everybody like sauerkraut?
The big news to me recently was that sauerkraut isn’t pickled. I just naturally assumed it was due to its pickled taste. No vinegar though, just fermented cabbage.
More big news was that lots of people are making their own. Really? Why? I guess it’s like anything else, homemade usually tastes best. But more than that, lots of people are concerned about what’s going on in their digestive system and what they can do proactively to make things run smoother. Eat fermented foods is what I’m hearing.
Now I’m not a big fan of fermented anything, since I associate fermentation with bacteria and foamy moldy stuffs. But I drink beer and eat tofu and used to eat cheese. Yeah, but all those are done under strict controls and guidelines, leaving no room for error. Let me loose with fermenting anything and I could unwittingly poison myself. Besides, I’m a big fan of refrigeration so foods don’t spoil, so why would I leave food out knowing it was going to essentially spoil? And then eat it?
I’ll leave it to the experts. I don’t have all that equipment anyway. Fermenting crock pots, or something like that, and weights and next thing you know I’m operating a factory out of my little apartment. No thanks.
Still, I’m intrigued over something so mundane that everybody is doing it – and making a food that I happen to like. How difficult could it be? I have this small cabbage with nothing to do. I search for a jar big enough with a lid, but everything’s in use except a few small jars.
When I want something it’s usually now, not tomorrow or next week. My cabbage is ready and I’m ready to do something with it.
I do a little research. Man, I didn’t know people squeezed the cabbage with their hands till it bleeds water – for twenty minutes? Did I get that wrong? I have a couple cracked ribs I’m still recovering from. I have trouble opening a jar and still scream when I cough, and my jars are small. How do I fit shredded cabbage into something so small and keep it covered with salted water, without a weight?
I do know from making coleslaw that you usually can’t keep it overnight without the water from the cabbage seeping into the dressing, watering it down while the cabbage becomes limp. Yeah, but I’d have to wait overnight. Do I refrigerate it while I wait for the cabbage to bleed its water?
Okay. I have to find a way to make the cabbage bleed its water without squeezing it. My ribs won’t let me squeeze.
Use the food processor. Mince the cabbage. Make minced sauerkraut. Yeah. I like the idea. Top your veggie dog or burger with minced sauerkraut, sort of like relish. I can do that with small jars.
I remove outer leaves from a small green cabbage, remove the core, cut the cabbage into something like quarters, then slice it into strips about 3/8 inch wide.
Place in food processor and process till evenly finely chopped, scraping insides of bowl a few times.
Transfer to large bowl and add about 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt, then using potato slammer, press lightly (because my ribs hurt) and stir to evenly distribute and melt the salt. Let set about 1/2 hour is what I did till cabbage bleeds its water.
Make sure my jars and lids are clean, which they are. Transfer minced cabbage into jars, then evenly divide up the liquid from bottom of bowl and pour into the jars.
Now, I don’t have quite enough liquid to cover the cabbage, so I add filtered water pretty much to the top – since cabbage floats, and I don’t have weights.
I cap the jars, wipe the outsides clean and dry.
Label the jars with the date, then set them out on the bar counter to do their thing.
Next day I look and nothing appears changed. Next day after that same thing. Next day after that I lift the jars thinking I should maybe shake them to be sure all cabbage bits are covered with water. I am surprised to find the jars dripping in water, all over the bar counter and down the bar wall. They looked the same though, so where is the water coming from? The lids are screwed on tight. Are the jars broken and I didn’t see it? So much of it. The green cupboard mat they were setting on was soaked.
I figure I needed another jar, which I had, so I took some cabbage from each of the three jars to make a fourth jar, then I topped it with salted filtered water, cleaned them all up, recapped, cleaned all counter surfaces and wall and let them to their thing again.
In a few days I noticed that all the liquid had been absorbed by the cabbage bits, so I added more salted water. That’s when I went internetting again to see what I was doing wrong or what my next step should be, and if it was okay to expose the fermenting cabbage to air by cracking the lid a bit. I came across a ‘make your own sauerkraut in jars’ website and I guess all that happened was predictable.
Holly said to start tasting after a week to see if it tastes okay and that some people like it at that stage. Or you could go on for a few weeks, then refrigerate up to a year.
I tasted my ‘kraut and it had a mildly acidic pleasing taste and a crisp but not raw texture, so I figured I’d let it go for a while longer to see if it becomes more acidic. I also added a little more salt to each jar and shook them up to evenly disperse it.
That’s where I am now. No visible mold or bad smell.
My contribution to sauerkraut is the minced part. I’ve never seen it, though that hardly means nobody has ever made it. I’m making it and publicizing it. This is my new condiment for veggie hot dogs and burgers.
Check out the website below to learn more about making sauerkraut in a jar so you don’t have to do the trial and error thing like I did.
PDF Has Your Sauerkraut Fermentation Gone Bad? Three Fermentation Rules and Many Troubleshooting Tips
Maybe Holly will offer me a few tips on how to proceed from here.
THE MINCED SAUERKRAUT IS FINISHED. TAKE A LOOK. https://animalfreesouschef.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/the-homemade-sauerkraut-is-finished/