Sauerkraut Recipe:

Lena's Home Made Sauerkraut

by Lena Sanchez

My husband grows a very large garden every year and I have to preserve the it to last through the winter. Since we both love sauerkraut I make sauerkraut each year. After several trials, I found this to be the best and most certainly the simplest sauerkraut recipe around!

You will need a very large crock, glass or enamel container
Minimum of 2 heads of cabbage
Kosher salt
Heavy duty food-grade plastic bags or 2 gal freezer bags
Wooden spoon

Some tips here to prevent problems with your sauerkraut:

  1. Never use aluminum utensils!
  2. Absolute cleanliness is necessary for a healthy brew!

I have a very old 5 gallon crock that I use to make my sauerkraut. But you can use a glass or enamel coated container. Clean and scald the container well! (I put mine in the dishwasher, but if you wish you can simply scald by pouring boiling water into the container and swishing around for no less than 30 seconds)

To prepare the cabbage, remove and discard the outer leaves. Wash and drain and then cut the cabbages into halves or quarters while removing the core in the process.

Step 1) Shred Cabbage - I use my food processor for speed and ease. If you shred by hand, make sure the shreds are no thicker than a nickel or dime!

Step 2) Mix, with wooden spoon or very clean hands, 5 pounds of shredded cabbage with 4 tablespoons of Kosher salt (pickling salt will do but changes the flavor a bit - do not use table salt) and toss and mix thoroughly until kosher salr dissolves! (You can make as much as you wish as long as you use the ratio of 5 lbs. cabbage to 4 Tbs. salt.)

NOTE: If you plan on refrigerating and not canning use 3 tbs of salt not 4!

Step 3) When juice starts to form on cabbage from tossing - Pack the cabbage firmly and evenly into a clean crock, glass or enamel container. Press firmly to encourage juice formation. Fill the utensil no closer than 5 inches from the top.

Step 4) Make sure juice covers the cabbage completely! (This does not always happen unless the cabbage is fresh from the garden) I prepare additional brine by putting 1 1/2 Tablespoons of kosher salt into 1 quart of boiling water. Dissolve salt and cool brine to room temperature before adding to the pot of cabbage.

Step 5) Once cabbage is immersed in brine water, place a large food grade, plastic bag filled with brine water and lay on top if cabbage... (I use 2 large bags, one inside the other   - sometimes a 2 gal freezer bag - with a couple of quarts of cooled brine water inside - this if the bag breaks it will not water down the cabbage into a tasteless mess)

The cabbage must be well sealed all around with the bag, so no air can get in and contaminate the sauerkraut with unwanted yeasts or molds!

Step 6) Now cover the container with plastic wrap, then a heavy towel or cloth and tie securely into place. Do not remove this until fermenting is complete!

Step 7) Put in an area where the temperature will not be above 75 degrees. Fermentation will begin within a day, depending upon the room temperature.

Step 8) If room temperature is 75 degrees allow 3 weeks for fermentation. If temperature is 70 degrees allow 4 weeks. If temperature is 65 degrees allow 5 weeks. If temperature is 60 degrees allow 6 weeks.

NOTE: If temperature is above 75 or 76 degrees, the sauerkraut may not ferment and could spoil!

Step 9) Once fermented taste to see if your required tartness exists. Tartness will weaken as you process in canning so make sure it is a wee bit more tart than you like!

Can be eaten immediately if you desire!

(I sometimes mix in 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed into 4 cups, enough for a couple of pints or 1 quart. This makes a tasty variation.)

NOTE: if you refrigerate only rinse and toss with cold water to attain the tartness desired!

Lena Sanchez is an Internet Great Grandmother who has her own Home Based Internet Business Center at http://www.envirodocs.com and is Editor of "Natural Environmental Health & Business Facts" newsletter.


 



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