Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sauerkraut Made Easy!

I am participating in the year long Food in Jars Mastery Challenge and February was salt preserving. While there are many ways to use salt in preserving, from lemons to herbs, egg yolks and flavored salts, I chose to salt preserve some sauerkraut.

My husband enjoys sauerkraut, and I must admit while I like the flavor, store bought sauerkraut doesn't always agree with me, but salt preserved sauerkraut is teeming with "good for you" healthy bacteria, which is an excellent way to boost your gut health, and it's so easy to make ...  much easier than I anticipated.

What do you need? A small'ish head of cabbage a tablespoon of salt, a mason jar and a weight. That's it, that's all there is to it. Well, that and time as the sauerkraut must ferment on your kitchen counter-top for approximately 3 weeks. The ideal room temperature for making sauerkraut is 65-72 degrees, no warmer, which is why its typically made in the cooler fall and winter months, and not in the summer. After it's fermented, it can be stored in your refrigerator for months, some say up to a year.

1 small to medium head of cabbage, shredded
1 tbls. non-iodine salt (I use canning and pickling salt)

Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle on salt. Using your hands, mix the salt into the cabbage, squeezing the cabbage from time to time to release its liquid.

Carefully pack, a bit at a time, the salted cabbage into a wide-mouth quart mason jar. You really want to pack this down well; use a crab mallet or other similar object to help you push it down tightly in the jar. Take a 4 oz mason jar and fill it with water; be sure lid and band or ring is screwed on tightly. Place that jar on top of the cabbage inside the quart jar. It will act as a weight keeping the cabbage under the liquid at all times.

Using a coffee filter, small piece of cloth, cheesecloth or paper towel, cover the top of the quart mason jar and secure with the band or ring. You can also use a rubber band. Place jar on a plate or inside a shallow bowl and move to a dark (out of direct sunlight) corner of your kitchen counter-top.

Check daily to be sure cabbage is under the liquid; remove cover and examine contents once per week, skimming foam if necessary. Taste sauerkraut after one week, then every week thereafter until it reaches the flavor and tanginess you like. Sauerkraut should be ready in 3-4 weeks.

Store in refrigerator up to one year after sauerkraut has fermented.


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