Friday, January 4, 2013

If you ever feel like strangling someone, I have a better idea. ;)

Cabbages are amazing!  I bought this cabbage (and two more) from a nice Amish lady I know several weeks ago and it has been living in our food storage room, which this time of year stays at about 40 degrees F.  Yesterday, I remembered it and lo and behold!  I had it sitting in there top down, and it was trying to grow a couple more little cabbages.  :)  It was also looking a bit gone by, so I decided I'd better use it up asap so it won't go to waste.
I took off all the dried and icky leaves ~ yes, you CAN safely use a cabbage that is beginning to decompose if you will simply strip off all of the ruined parts.  I lost a lot of it, but there was quite a bit left.  Here is all the icky stuff I pulled and cut off:
Here is the cleaned cabbage as well as part of another one I had in the refrigerator.  I made all of this into a batch of sauerkraut:
I have made sauerkraut many times through the years, and most often have simply cut it up as thinly as possible with a good sharp knife.  I've also used a "kraut cutter" (an old fashioned wooden device with sharp blades specifically designed to do this,) but now I use my electric food processor.  It makes it SO easy. 
Here it is, all shredded in a very large bowl:
I added 2 Tablespoons of RealSalt, mixed it in with my hands, and let the shredded cabbage sit for 30 minutes.  Here is what it looked like after wilting a bit with the salt:
Now comes the fun part.  This is what I was referring to in the title of this post.  I use my hands to "squish" the salted cabbage for about 5 minutes with my hands until it is very juice:
I had some of the juice leftover from a previous batch of kraut.  This juice, being raw, is rich in lacto-bacteria and I added it to the new batch to speed up the fermentation.  That batch was made with purple cabbage, hence the color:
I added all of that (this is optional) and also 2 Tablespoons of caraway seeds(optional), mixed it all well and here is what it looked like then:
Then, I packed it firmly into a Pickle-It jar, closed the lid and put on the airlock with water in it.
This will sit (out of direct light) in the kitchen until it is "done."  After some days, I will taste it and see what I think.  When I like the flavor, I'll pack it in a different glass jar and store it in the refrigerator.  It will keep a LONG time and is a wonderfully healthy addition to any meal, as the lacto-bacillus aids digestion.  Of course, the cabbage is good for you too!

It is not necessary to have a Pickl-It jar.  There are other ways.  I used to pack my kraut in a glass or food safe plastic bucket and put water inside 2 zip-lock bags and use that as a weight to keep the kraut below the liquid.  The bag was also big enough to completely cover the top of the ferment.  Some people use a Fido jar.  I have not tried that yet, but plan to.  Some express concern that it might explode.  I will just plan to not be in the kitchen when that happens... ;)

10 comments:

  1. I am wondering if your cabbage ever gets mold on top of it. I used and airlock for the first time this fall trying to make sauerkraut (my first time making it) and the jar got moldy on top. I wasn't sure if it could still be used so ended up throwing it away. Thought maybe you would have some advice for me. Have a great weekend.

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    1. I have had sauerkraut fail, in the past, but it wasn't mold that I could actually see... it just got slimy. It is important to have enough salt and to keep the cabbage under the brine at all times. Was your airlock entirely reliable?

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  2. I am not really sure, I got it from the local health food store. This mold was kind of white and slimy looking on top of the cabbage. I will give it a try again. About how long does it usually take for it to get to the point where it tastes like sauerkraut? Thanks for the help.

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    1. That will vary according to the conditions. I used to do it in a cool cellar and it would take 6 weeks. The last time I made it, it only took a few days. I have read online that for maximum nutritional benefit, you should wait a lot longer than a few days, but my way is to just put it in cold storage when it tastes right to me. If it's in a clear jar, you can watch and see just how it acts when it is fermenting and then it slows way down. That's when you should taste it and see what you think. There is a Facebook group that does fermenting in Fido jars. Someone on there said don't open it for 4 weeks. Then they said you can keep it on the counter for 4 more weeks as you eat it. So Many Opinions. You might want to look around on the web.

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  3. Thanks for all of the help, fermenting is something I would really like to get into. Will do some research.

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    1. Wardeh Harmon (www.gnowfglins.com) published a book this past year that is very good on the subject. Here is a link to it:

      http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Fermenting-Foods/dp/1615641505/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357441899&sr=8-1&keywords=the+complete+idiot%27s+guide+to+fermentation

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  4. I've never seen a cabbage sprout babies before! I keep thinking about making sauerkraut but I haven't yet. It looks so easy! Next time someone is getting on my nerves I'll go buy a cabbage.

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    1. I think that is an excellent plan. ;)

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  5. Hello Yolanda, I have a question for you. Is it possible to pickled peppers using only salt and water? Like some pickled recipes do?

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    1. It would be good to ferment them that way. Rinse well, drain, pack into a jar. Add some whey - from drained yogurt would be good, and a salt brine. Download this "cheat sheet" from Gnowfglins and it will show you what to do! Put your peppers in a Fido jar, or weight them until the brine. Good luck! http://gnowfglins.com/tcs/lf-formulas-aff

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