Sauerkraut (Home Made)

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Post by Keymaster » Sun Apr 29, 2012 16:52

Thanks Kevin for checking it out, I went and saw the reviews and cancelled my order :smile: I'll just use my knife for now.
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Kraut is Ready!

Post by NorCal Kid » Sun Apr 29, 2012 23:13

Well, 30 days after I started this process, today is the day to do two things: TRY the sauerkraut, and then if its ready, pack it into smaller containers for refrigerator storage.

I was very pleased (relieved?) to taste the sauerkraut and discover that it is really quite GOOD! Nice, crunchy texture, pleasing aroma, slight natural sweetness that helps balance the prominent sourness. My wife tasted it and said, "Whoa!...that's definitely SOUR! :shock:" Now to my tastes, its perfect. But then again, she grew up having sauerkraut cooked, sweetened with apples & onions & sugar-so her expectations of the taste of freshly fermented sauerkraut may have been slightly different than my own. I grew up only having the nasty metallic sour stuff out of cans heaped upon hot dogs...so to my way of thinking, this new batch is quite tasty!

I had a plate or two of it, room-temp, right out of the jar. Really very good, if I do say so. I wanted to be able to ENJOY eating it raw (no heat) in order to gain/receive the natural probiotic benefits inherent in these foods. The fact that the stuff is delicious is an added bonus! :wink:

Overall, this was my first venture into fermenting, so I'm pleased with the results. It took about a week or so longer than expected (30 days versus 18-20 expected), but that was due to the storage temps being too low initially.

Good fun, and now to plan some meals around the kraut. Plenty of kielbasa in the freezer, and I've a recipe for krautwurst I'm looking forward to making.

Kevin

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Post by DLFL » Sun Apr 29, 2012 23:16

That is really good looking!
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My Kraut experiment is completed.

Post by two_MN_kids » Wed May 02, 2012 03:57

I had been out of town all last week and was reminded about my kraut when I saw Kevin`s post. I started a week ahead of Kevin, so this morning I thought I should have a look.

I used a 2 1/2 gal. brew pail with a dual chamber water seal.

I placed a one quart jar next to it to show it wasn`t real large.

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I removed the lid, the sealed bag of brine, the small compression plate, a double layer of cheese cloth, and several outer leaves from the cabbage. I was relieved to not find any mold or foul odor.

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I plated some for a taste test and was pleasantly surprised to find it had a slight sour flavor and great crunch, and not too salty.

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After all the sampling I was still able to get five full quart jars. Jean tried some when she came home from work and concurred it was a keeper.

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A website I looked at this morning mentioned that some cabbages don`t have the sugar content that a late fall harvest will have. Perhaps that is why I didn`t get the bubbling reaction I was expecting.

But this definitely was not a failure. It is best served cold like a pickle. This is not sauerkraut to heat, process, or cook.

Jim~I still have a lot to learn
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Post by NorCal Kid » Wed May 02, 2012 04:45

Looks great, Jim!

Like you, I was a bit concerned about the lack of substantially visible bubbles during the process. That's an interesting observation about the possible lower sugar content in the cabbages used.

And as you discovered: pleasantly sour, crunchy and NOT too salty at all! One gallon regular; one gallon with caraway.

I've had several plates of it raw & its very satisfying.

I also cooked a dish last night using a pint of the 'kraut. Sauteed onion & bacon, added thinly sliced potatoes and 1 thinly sliced tart apple; cook for a bit, season with s&p; add the pint of sauerkraut (I used a pint of the 'caraway' batch), add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar; heat throughly & serve. Rave reviews from the wife. A nice gewurstraminer on the side & call it a success! :grin:

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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed May 02, 2012 06:27

Wow... ALL you folks have bragging rights! Very nice indeed.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by DLFL » Wed May 02, 2012 12:33

Great looking kraut guys!

I failed to mention that my pickles and brussel sprout batched were both a failure. Both ended up with white mold growing and the vegetables spoiled.

I've done fermented pickles before and they were good. This time I tried half sours at the low salt amount from Stan's book.
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Post by two_MN_kids » Wed May 02, 2012 18:09

Sorry to hear that Dick. Hope you have better luck on the next batch.

Jim
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Post by Baconologist » Wed May 02, 2012 19:02

Good looking kraut guys!
Godspeed!

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Post by Rick » Fri Sep 07, 2012 02:13

The wife and I have made kraut for the last 30 years. It's pretty much a no brainier if you follow a few rules, and it is very forgiving. First, and the most important rule is to use winter cabbage. This is cabbage that is picked after the first few fall frosts. If you use summer cabbage which seems to have a thinner leaf, it will rot in the crock. You'll need an open crock or one of those German Harsch fermenting crocks. They work really great. You'll then need a 5 gallon plastic pickle pail secured from your favorite restaurant.
Next you'll need a "kraut pounder". I use a piece of limb, 4 inches in diameter by 10 inches long. Skin the bark off and drill a hole in one end and secure a shovel handle into the hole.
Now you need a kraut cutter to shred your cabbage. I have a couple of 8 gallon crocks that I use. Figure about 8-10 heads of cabbage per crock.
So the wife shreds the cabbage into a utility pail of about 3 gallon size. When that's full, I take it to the basement and dump it into the pickle pail. Return the smaller pail to the wife to fill. I take a palm (hand) full of Kosher salt and throw it onto the cabbage. Then with my pounder, I pound it down for about 5 minutes. Then I transfer the pounded cabbage to the crock. Keep doing this until your cabbage has filled the crock to within 4 inches of the top. You can skip the salt on every third pail of cabbage. As your crock fills with cabbage, you can tap it down with the pounder. NOT TOO HARD, you don't want to crack the bottom of your crock! Just enough to work the air pockets out. By this time you should have a lot of liquid forming in with your cabbage due to the salt and pounding.
Now put a piece of cheese cloth over the top of the cabbage. Put a large plate on top of that, and on the plate place a clean donick. Every other day rinse out your cheese cloth. I think I start my kraut in October and its done between Christmas and New Years. Keep your crocks in a cool basement. Not freezing and not 70 degrees, low 50's would be nice. Along about Cristmas or so, you can skim the first couple of inches off the top which is waste. You don't get this with the Harsch crocks. Then bag it into zip locks or can it. We freeze ours. If it tastes too salty at cooking time, you can always rinse it. Following these rules, I've never had a batch go bad on me. Like I said, we've made it every year for the last 30 years. You can add caraway seed and all kinds of stuff to it in the crock if you like.
Next we'll talk about how to cook your kraut. How about 2 packages of kraut along with a stick of butter and a can of Coke!
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Post by vstyn » Sun Dec 16, 2012 18:29

If you are looking for a crock go to WWW.sausagemaker.com they hvae good ones!
I need to learn dry sausage
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Post by JerBear » Mon Dec 17, 2012 03:56

I did my kraut a LOT more simply and seemed to work out great for me. I shredded three heads very thinly with a good sharp knife, added salt and compacted everything into a 6 gal foodsafe plastic bucket which I'd cleaned and rinsed carefully beforehand. I topped the mix with a clean plate (no extra liquid) and topped the plate with a plastic jug of water (also well cleaned). I covered the bucket with an old clean t-shirt and set the lid in place. I had purchased a water-lock but decided not to use it. The kraut was perfect in just under a month....

Just tried some today with some pepperjack brats and cheddar kielbasa and homemade pumpkin-ale mustard and all was good in the world!!!
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Post by fatboyz » Mon Aug 22, 2016 04:51

Uwanna, how do you store it after its done. Just got myself a 2 gallon crock fermenter and am going to get cabbage from the local Huterites. Do you jar and can it.
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Post by redzed » Tue Aug 23, 2016 16:11

Hey Ron, my wife and I make a big batch of sauerkraut each year. We use the hard late fall cabbage and add some carrots for colour. Rather than measuring the salt with table spoons, we add 2% non iodized salt. We ferment in a 12 gallon Medalta stone crock, (made in Alberta) :grin: A portion of the sauerkraut is packed into plastic food containers and stored in the fridge for months, usually until spring. We eat that sauerkraut raw in slaws and other dishes. That way we get all the benefits from the live probiotics. The other part of the batch is canned in Imperial quart jars, using a 20 minute processing time. Nothing better than your own kraut!
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Post by StefanS » Sat Aug 27, 2016 04:58

Sorry to put my 5 cents in that topic but it looks like Fatboyz started old discussion. After reed all posts I have get some courage to summarize some important suggestions and information in that field plus add some my suggestions (I have been helping/doing sauerkraut for over 50 years). Maxwell posted very old but very actual research on polish site of WD http://wedlinydomowe.pl/forum/topic/119 ... e-kapusty/, so there is also some important infos on that topic. I will try to put together very short translation of it plus my own experience in that field.
Cabbage - always use only hard fall variety. Heads should be healthy, not visible damage by worms, fungus and frost. (I'm baying in local farmers stand in late October, beginning of November (Massachusetts time). I'm keeping heads in my garage for week up to 2 weeks covered by tarp (keep heads in dark). Here are two purposes for that - during that time inside of heads there are biochemical processes important for sugars. Also during that time there are visible changes in color of leaves (we call that process - whitening (very important for late color of kraut, more yellowish not greyish).
Cutting/shredding heads. - You can cut by knife or you can use a shredder - best for sauerkraut are 2-3 mm wide cuts and long as possible. I'm using that one http://www.sausagemaker.com/Stainless-S ... 4-1716.htm
but also you can get it or similar in other places.
Usually during a process of cutting cabbage I do one step by time - cutting 3 heads, adding salt, mix then transfer to bucket, add some shredded carrots and compact it. Then again next batch. On earlier responses there are very good explanations what and way to do it.
In many post you guys trying to keep closed buckets, jars, - that staff needs be open. During compacting, pressing you should get (in 5 gallon bucket) around a 1" of juice over shredded cabbage. I agree that it should have weights, post above are right - everybody have own way to keep it down - but during first days (up to two weeks) of fermenting you should spike that to the bottom of bucket.(put weights back after that, keep it under juice line) Do not worry about oxygen, do not worry about smell - it is about get great sauerkraut. My experience, my parents, grandparents - first week of process - temperature should be minimum 24-26*C ( around 78-80F). It is important for starting right process. Why we doing it? During lactating process there are gases trapped inside pile of cabbage, if you not remove them at this part of process you will have greyish sauerkraut and it will be a very bitterness. After 6-10 days we are moving containers to cooler places like garage (if fermenting process goes right). After a 25-30 days we are done - we are putting a sauerkraut in 1 quart Ball jars (very good squeezed to up 1" bellow head plus filled up with juice on top. Jars do not need any processing time, they stays in garage (not heated ) until late spring.
So here are some suggestions for make a great sauerkraut:
salt - 2-2.5 % of weight of shredded cabbage
Carrots - up to 1.5%
Caraway seeds - up to 0.5 % ( helping with digestions, "farting" :oops: )
Here is my favorite raw salad -
half of jar of sauerkraut,
2 apples (Fuji) pilled and shredded
2 tea spoons of sugar
1 chopped onion
3 table spoon sunflower oil
mix them in bowl, use with fish and chips

I know that is some infos missed so will gladly answer nay of them.
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