Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. Homemade Sauerkraut

  2. firm heads of mature cabbage

  3. canning salt

  4. For best results weigh the cabbage and the salt using a ratio of

  5. 40 pounds of cabbage to

  6. 1 (one) pound of salt.

  7. We use a kraut cutter and a crock which are over one hundred years

  8. old. You can use a bread or cutting board and a large knife to

  9. cut the cabbage.

  10. Remove the outside green and dirty leaves. Cut the heads of cabbage

  11. in half and remove as much of the core that you can. Now is the

  12. time to weigh the head of cabbage. We keep a running total of the

  13. cabbage we use to make sure that we use the right ratio of salt to

  14. cabbage. When we find out the total amount of cabbage we are using

  15. then we measure out the exact amount of salt needed. Shred the

  16. cabbage using either a kraut cutter or a knife. We use a kitchen

  17. scale to weigh the cabbage and salt.

  18. 5 pounds of cabbage and about 2 ounces of salt into a

  19. large bowl and mix with your hands. Put into a crock and pack gently

  20. with a potato masher and tamp the cabbage down until some juice

  21. comes to the top. The first batch may not bring up juice but, after

  22. putting in the second batch of cabbage and salt the juice should

  23. easily come to the top. Repeat until you have used up all the

  24. cabbage and the correct amount of salt. You must not store your

  25. kraut in a metal container.

  26. After the last shredded cabbage and salt are put in the crock work

  27. the cabbage with the potato masher until juice comes to the top.

  28. We use a piece of white cloth such as a piece of a sheet to cover

  29. the kraut. Then we put boards on the cloth and a stone to weigh

  30. the kraut down so the juice comes to the top. Some people use one

  31. or more large plastic bags filled with water to weigh the kraut

  32. down so it is under the juice. If you use plastic bags make sure

  33. they are the kind that can be used with food. Garbage bags won't

  34. do.

  35. During the curing process, kraut requires daily attention. Remove

  36. scum as it forms and wash and scald the cloth often to keep it free

  37. from scum and mold and wipe the side of the crock. Fermentation

  38. will be complete in about three weeks. The kraut should be kept in

  39. 50s to low

  40. 60s. It

  41. needs just enough warmth to keep it working during the fermenting

  42. process. Yet not so hot that it will spoil.

  43. Kraut works from the top down. To check to see if the kraut is

  44. ready wait about 2 weeks and dig down in the center of the kraut

  45. about 5 or 8 inches. Take a little out and taste it. The kraut

  46. should be firm but not crunchy and should have good kraut flavor.

  47. If it is not ready let it sit for a few more days and then taste

  48. it again.

  49. The following is for canning the sauerkraut. As soon as kraut is

  50. thoroughly cured, pack into clean canning jars, adding enough of

  51. the kraut juice, or a weak brine made by dissolving 2 tablespoons

  52. salt to a quart of water, fill jars to with 1/2 inch of top of jar.

  53. Put on cap, screwing the band tight. Process in water bath for 15

  54. minutes. This method cooks the kraut.

  55. We use double bags (one bag inside of another) to pack the kraut

  56. in and then we put it in the freezer. When using this method to

  57. store the kraut you need to leave some space in the bags because

  58. the kraut will continue to ferment until it is frozen. (We learned

  59. this the hard way. Had Kraut spill out into the freezer. It really

  60. smelled.) By freezing the kraut it is fresh when taken out of the

  61. freezer and has not been cooked. I find that cooking the kraut

  62. with the pork chops on a low temperature for three hours it turns

  63. out the best. Kraut tastes good raw too.

  64. It is not often that we add any sugar at the end of the cooking

  65. time but, sometimes if the kraut seems too sour we will add a little

  66. sugar.

  67. The main thing is to measure your salt and weigh your cabbage. The

  68. 1 pound of salt to

  69. 40 pounds of cabbage is very important.

  70. To little salt will make the kraut spoil and to much salt will make

  71. the kraut to salty.

  72. Hints: Weigh cabbage and salt to get the correct ratio. This is

  73. important. Keep in a temperature where the kraut will work yet

  74. not spoil. Check the kraut often and keep it clean. When the

  75. kraut is ready remove about the first inch of kraut from the top

  76. and throw it away. The top inch of the kraut usually is kind of

  77. soft. You may find that at some time during the fermenting process

  78. that there doesn't seem to be enough juice. Just add some plain

  79. water. Don't put any more salt in the kraut.


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