Make Your Own Sauerkraut

DSC_0210This is our first (successful) batch of home made sauerkraut.  We may have had a giant failure the first time around, but we’ll talk about that later.  More importantly, this batch was a huge success.  It actually is very easy, as long as you pay attention to it while it is fermenting.  First, we bought the book offered at this website.  All the information you could ever want can be found in the book and/or the site.  Then we got a fermentation crock like this one.  Then we filled it up with red and green cabbage and salt.  Every 5 pounds of cabbage gets 3 tablespoons of salt.  We use Celtic Sea salt.  After a day, you are supposed to see liquid brine in the crock as the salt pulls the liquid out of the cabbage.  This never happened for us, even though the cabbage was pretty fresh.  We added salt water until the cabbage was totally submerged.  One tablespoon salt per cup of water.  We added 10 cups to get enough liquid and probably should have added more.  

This is where the giant failure comes in the first round.  Not only did we not add any brine, but it was forgotten rather than checked on every day or so.  It really needed the brine that wasn’t there, and so it rotted.  Too much to save any of it.  If only some rots, you can just carefully scrape it off.  We also noticed maggots growing in the good batch.  They showed up really quick, but we were able to clean them out and revive the batch sauerkraut without too much trouble.  That’s when we realized how generous with the brine we really could be.  We ended up with much more brine than we originally thought we needed, but this seemed to do the trick.  Another good reason for a lot of brine is that it is healthy for you to drink.  As long as you like the taste of sauerkraut that is…

Our good batch fermented for about a month.  We stopped it here because that was the taste of the kraut that we wanted.  There is no set limit on how long it has to go.  It just depends on what you are looking for.  Less time makes for sweeter kraut.  Longer time makes sourer kraut.  Either way, I am amazed at how crunchy this stuff is.  I have only ever had soggy canned kraut before now.  And I hated it.  Really, really hated it.  To the point that I had no interest in making the sauerkraut at all.  It was the man who convinced me it was worth while.  I am still skeptical these days, but this stuff is leaps and bounds better than what I had thought sauerkraut was.  Just like anything else we make for ourselves I suppose.  Next time we will try out some other vegetables and see how that goes.

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