Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ode to Sauerkraut

I love pickling.  I grew a darn vegetable garden just so I could experiment making different varieties of pickled spicy green beans! 

So I decided to combine my love of mason jars & pickling with a new trick - fermenting food.  According to my initial research (e.g., the internet), one of the easiest foods to ferment in a jar is home-made sauerkraut.  I love pork and sauerkraut so, SOLD

Here is what I did and it was very simple...

1/2 head of cabbage
3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt
2 mason jars
cheese cloth or just a regular cloth

1.  Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and reserve.  Cut the cabbage in half and use only one half of the head.  Save the other 1/2 for later. 

2.   Slice the cabbage into strips.

3.  Place cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt.  Gently massage salt into the cabbage and mix with your hands for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage begins to wilt. 

4.  Place cabbage and juice from the bowl into two clean mason jars.  Press down cabbage with your hand so it is packed tightly. 

5.  Fold one of the green outer leaves and place on top of the chopped cabbage in the mason jar and push it down.  This should help submerge the cabbage in its juices as it ferments.

6.  Cover with cheese cloth so air can pass through but the jar remains clean of dust/dirt.  Secure into place with a rubber band.  Put jars in a place away from sunlight and where it is relatively cool (like the basement).

7.  When it has been 24 hours, check on the jars and press down cabbage.  If there is not enough juice from the fermentation to cover the cabbage completely, you will need to add more liquid (I did).  Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in one cup of water and add to each jar until the cabbage is fully submerged.

8.  After 5 days, your cabbage is ready!  Remove the top green leaf and place in the refrigerator.  Serve with pork or bratwurst and mashed potatoes.

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