Happy Homesteading: Sauerkraut

Last Saturday I made my first attempt at fermenting and preserving. Up to this point I had been refrigerating everything.  I've heard that sauerkraut is the easiest vegetable to ferment and therefore is the best food to start fermenting. To my surprise, making the sauerkraut was as easy as everyone claimed.
 
For dinner last night, we opened our first jar of sauerkraut, and it was delicious. It was definitely less tangy than store bought sauerkraut, but was actually more enjoyable. I've left a couple other jars to ferment a bit longer, as flavor research. Refrigerating the jars stops the fermentation process. So if you aren't happy with the flavor, just let the cabbage ferment a bit longer before refrigerating.

The verdict... I will definitely be making sauerkraut rather than buying going forward.
 
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • (If you need to make your own brine, see recipe below)*
Directions:

1. Wash cabbage and remove outer leaves and any leaves that look wilted.

2. Quarter the cabbage, remove the core, and slice the cabbage into thin strips.

3.  Place the strips in a large bowl, and sprinkle the kosher salt over the top.
Allow it to sit for 20minutes or so,  then start mashing. I used a combination of mashing by hand and using the back end of a wooden spoon to get the juices flowing. A mallet or meat tenderizer would also work.

4. I spent about 10 minutes masking the cabbage. Hopefully you'll have a pool of salty cabbage juice at the bottom of the bowl.

5. Place a couple handfuls of cabbage into the jar, and pack it down with a wooden spoon. You want to eliminate as many bubbles as possible.

6. Repeat the packing and mashing until the jar is full, leaving about 2″ at the top.

7. If there is enough liquid flowing from your cabbage to cover it completely, good for you. I needed to add brine to the jars of cabbage. If the cabbage isn't completely submerged, it is susceptible to mold and other bacteria. (Though if that should happen, simply remove those pieces of cabbage. Everything below that point should be safe to eat). If the cabbage is not completely submerged, make a 2% brine solution to fill up the rest of the jar.

 If you are having troubles with the cabbage floating to the top, you can weigh it down with a glass weight,  or a piece of cabbage core. Any cabbage that is exposed will need to be thrown away.


*To Make a 2% Brine:
Dissolve 1 tablespoon kosher salt in 4 cups of water. If you don’t use all of the brine for this recipe, it will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

Thanks to the Prairie Homestead and The Kitchn for their easy to follow recipes.

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