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Trying a New Technique for Making Sauerkraut

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The best sauerkraut is said to be made in its own juices. The cabbage is shredded and pounded enough to bruise the juice out of it. The requires extremely fresh cabbage, which I don’t often have, since cabbage moths make cabbage growing a real challenge for me. Cabbage is an inexpensive vegetable, so I don’t mind buying it to make sauerkraut. The trade-off is that it’s usually too old to pound out the juices. So, most often, I make sauerkraut by mixing and adding brine

Recently, I ran across a video with a different method for making sauerkraut. It’s a four-part series with the first video here. Instead of shredding the cabbage and adding the brine, the cut cabbage was salted first and allowed to sit overnight. Salt pulls moisture from food (through osmosis, I reckon) and so helps the cabbage make it’s own juice. I decided to give it a try.

The first step is shredding the cabbage.
After shredding, the cabbage was sprinkled with salt and mixed in. The video didn’t mention an amount, so I used the same amount of salt as my old recipe, 2 tablespoons for a medium head of cabbage. I covered it with a clean dishcloth and let it sit on the counter overnight.

I use Himalayan pink salt for the minerals.

The next morning the cabbage shreds looked wet and I found that the salt had indeed pulled some juice from the cabbage.

The next step is pounding. In the video, the gal dumped her shredded cabbage into a 5-gallon bucket and stomped it like grapes. I opted to used my pounder.

That squished out more juice. Not enough to cover the cabbage, but the video said in that case, cover it with a light brine. The video used fresh dill and slices of horseradish for flavoring, but I used juniper berries and celery seeds.

After covering the crock contents with more brine, I submerged the cabbage shreds by covering them with a saucer and weighting it with a pint jar half filled with water. 

Then the crock is covered with a clean cloth an allowed to ferment.

I find that three days is good for our taste buds. Then I transferred it to a half-gallon jar with a lid to store in the fridge. 

Then the taste test. We both love sauerkraut and really liked this one. I especially like to use it as a relish on a good hamburger.

Bacon cheeseburger with sauerkraut.

One other really good tidbit I picked up from the video series is that sauerkraut can be frozen without destroying the probiotics. Canning will kill them, but I usually make it one cabbage at a time and refrigerate it after it’s soured to the tartness we like. It does keep getting more sour, even in the fridge, so freezing sounds like a good way to go.

Conclusion? This method is a keeper! I’ll have to try it with my other fermented vegetables as well.


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