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SAUERKRAUT - DIY STYLE

Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage. I decided to try to make my own - considering I'll have some corned beef left over after St. Patrick's Day, AND my hubby loves a good Reuben AND his birthday is coming up March 21. Since the kraut takes several weeks to ferment, it's time to get this fermentation party started. Since I didn't have any old school tools, I picked up a 4 pack of 1 quart Ball Jars, and found this Mason Jar Fermentation Kit on Amazon. It had everything I needed and hopefully this kraut will be an epic success! (This recipe makes 1 quart and once fermented, should hold in your refrigerator for several months). We'll use the "dry salting" technique, using the natural moisture we'll release from the cabbage as the base for our "brine."

 

  WHAT YOU'LL NEED:    -  large cabbage, approx 2-2.5 pounds  - 1.5 TB kosher salt (I use Diamond)  - 1 tsp caraway seed (optional)  - 1 quart canning jar with lid  - pickle packer and pickle pebble  - large metal or plastic bowl  - air lock to place in jar  - sharp knife   

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

large cabbage, approx 2-2.5 pounds

- 1.5 TB kosher salt (I use Diamond)

- 1 tsp caraway seed (optional)

- 1 quart canning jar with lid

- pickle packer and pickle pebble

- large metal or plastic bowl

- air lock to place in jar

- sharp knife

 

 2. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Prepare to work.  3. Pound the cabbage in order to release its natural moisture. The fresher the cabbage, the more liquid will come forth.   4.  DON'T DO WHAT I DID  - after 9 minutes and 45 seconds of pounding it in a glass bowl that I've had for ages, the bowl literally EXPLODED! So use a metal bowl or heavy plastic bowl to do this! What a mess, but a I got a great workout doing this twice!   

2. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Prepare to work.

3. Pound the cabbage in order to release its natural moisture. The fresher the cabbage, the more liquid will come forth. 

4. DON'T DO WHAT I DID - after 9 minutes and 45 seconds of pounding it in a glass bowl that I've had for ages, the bowl literally EXPLODED! So use a metal bowl or heavy plastic bowl to do this! What a mess, but a I got a great workout doing this twice!

 

  KIDDOCJJ TIP:   I did a side by side comparison of Diamond Kosher salt (on the left) with Baleine Kosher Salt (a product similar to Morton's). Because of the nature of Diamond salt, it weighs less per cup than Morton's or Beleine and as a result has less sodium per tsp.  With pickling, and using a minimal amount (1.5TB) this difference won't matter much. HOWEVER, if you are making a brine that requires a greater amount, WEIGH YOUR SALT, rather than measuring it - that way you'll get the right amount of sodium chloride (NaCl).   

KIDDOCJJ TIP:

I did a side by side comparison of Diamond Kosher salt (on the left) with Baleine Kosher Salt (a product similar to Morton's). Because of the nature of Diamond salt, it weighs less per cup than Morton's or Beleine and as a result has less sodium per tsp.  With pickling, and using a minimal amount (1.5TB) this difference won't matter much. HOWEVER, if you are making a brine that requires a greater amount, WEIGH YOUR SALT, rather than measuring it - that way you'll get the right amount of sodium chloride (NaCl).

 

 5. By the 10 minute mark your cabbage should be reduced down to about half, and look moist and glistening.

5. By the 10 minute mark your cabbage should be reduced down to about half, and look moist and glistening.

  PREPARING YOUR CABBAGE:   Rinse the outside of the cabbage with cool running water and then cut in half, across the core/root end.  With a sharp knife cut the core out from each half and discard.  Remove a layer or two of the large outer leaves. Flatten one of those leaves and trace a circle on it with a sharp knife, using the lid of your jar as a guide. You'll use this cabbage circle later.  With a large knife slice the cabbage thinly and place in a large bowl.

PREPARING YOUR CABBAGE:

Rinse the outside of the cabbage with cool running water and then cut in half, across the core/root end.

With a sharp knife cut the core out from each half and discard.

Remove a layer or two of the large outer leaves. Flatten one of those leaves and trace a circle on it with a sharp knife, using the lid of your jar as a guide. You'll use this cabbage circle later.

With a large knife slice the cabbage thinly and place in a large bowl.

 6. Using your pickle packer, TIGHTLY pack the cabbage and any liquid in the bowl into your quart jar, up to the sloped shoulder. Your cabbage should be essentially submerged in its own liquid.  7. Lay over the slice of cabbage leaf and top with the pickle pebble, which weighs all of this down, and the leaf prevents any floaters from hitting the top.  8. Wipe off the ring of the jar with a clean paper towel.  9. Insert the airlock into the ring and screw on tightly.

6. Using your pickle packer, TIGHTLY pack the cabbage and any liquid in the bowl into your quart jar, up to the sloped shoulder. Your cabbage should be essentially submerged in its own liquid.

7. Lay over the slice of cabbage leaf and top with the pickle pebble, which weighs all of this down, and the leaf prevents any floaters from hitting the top.

8. Wipe off the ring of the jar with a clean paper towel.

9. Insert the airlock into the ring and screw on tightly.

  INSTRUCTIONS:   1.  Sprinkle the salt and caraway seed over the cabbage, and with your hands, toss thoroughly.                     

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Sprinkle the salt and caraway seed over the cabbage, and with your hands, toss thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 10. Pinch the top of the airlock and press down lightly to release any air inside and create a bit of a vacuum.  11. Put your kraut in a bowl and put in a cool dark place (ideally 60-70 degrees) for about 3-4 weeks (just in time for post-St.Patty's-reubens).   12. As we go through this fermentation process together, you'll notice some bubbles within the kraut, and swelling of the airlock as air and some fluid is released. So your bowl will collect some brine that you can periodically discard.   13. If any sediment or foam collects on the airlock, gently wipe it off with a wet paper towel.  14. I'll post pics weekly and we can check each other's progress. I anticipate with our weather in LA (a little warmer) this will take about 3 weeks. For cooler climates, likely about a month.   15. Try this - we're in it together. Doctor's Orders!   

10. Pinch the top of the airlock and press down lightly to release any air inside and create a bit of a vacuum.

11. Put your kraut in a bowl and put in a cool dark place (ideally 60-70 degrees) for about 3-4 weeks (just in time for post-St.Patty's-reubens). 

12. As we go through this fermentation process together, you'll notice some bubbles within the kraut, and swelling of the airlock as air and some fluid is released. So your bowl will collect some brine that you can periodically discard. 

13. If any sediment or foam collects on the airlock, gently wipe it off with a wet paper towel.

14. I'll post pics weekly and we can check each other's progress. I anticipate with our weather in LA (a little warmer) this will take about 3 weeks. For cooler climates, likely about a month. 

15. Try this - we're in it together. Doctor's Orders!