I packed up the sauerkraut on March 3rd, 2018 and stopped the fermentation by refrigerating it on the 1st of April 2018. Although I expected the flavors to stay the same after refrigeration, they did deepen somewhat in acidity since I refrigerated it. Nice though, not too acidic.
In fact, I would call this minced sauerkraut delicate – a delicacy I like. It’s not that I don’t like the stronger tasting sauerkrauts, it’s that I like both and now I have another option. I suspect that when somebody markets a sauerkraut relish, it will be a lot stronger tasting.
The texture was crisp, but not raw-feeling on the palate. Perfect for me.
Maybe packing it tightly, which I didn’t do in order to keep the tiny bits covered with brine creates more fermentation. Maybe the hand-pressing/squeezing of the cabbage contributes to the fermentation. No matter how clean the hands, it’s not the same as a metal blade doing the squeezing as was done with my minced sauerkraut via a food processor. The human skin contributes something, I just don’t know what. When my ribs heal, I’ll try the hand method and compare results.
For now I’m enjoying my delicate minced sauerkraut on veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs – and sometimes straight out of the jar as a spoon snack. I also drink the brine when the sauerkraut is gone. Hope that’s okay. It should be.
This was our Easter dinner believe it or not. And wow what a burger. BOCA ORIGINAL VEGGIE CHIK’N PATTIES pan-fried, topped with Tofutti Dairy-free cheese and cooked till melted, served with red onion slice and fresh tomato on a lightly toasted potato bun spread with Ball Park Mustard and veg mayo. Top the tomato slice with minced sauerkraut and we were in sauerkraut and veggie chik’n burger heaven heaven.
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.
This is how my Mince Sauerkraut looks on 18 March 2018
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.