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My First Attempt at Homemade Sauerkraut

Update:  I have made a few batches of this now and it works great every time!  The trick is to be sure to squeeze all the liquid you can out of the cabbage.  We literally punch it down after each layer.  The salt helps to start breaking it down and you get lots of water out of the cabbage.  The trick is to be sure when you cover it and weigh it down that the cabbage is COVERED in liquid.  If for some reason you have dry cabbage you can add a little water to be sure it is covered in the brine.  I also have found you can do this on a smaller scale using quart jars same thing again just be sure the cabbage is covered with liquid!

Also I have known for a long time that having a good flora in your gut is ESSENTIAL for good digestion and good nutrient absorption.  Actually there is lots of things about your gut and the flora that are so important and many of us neglect and take it for granted but I'll talk more about that later.  Most of us don't get enough of the good flora and/or it all gets destroyed when we take antibiotics. (yes even the good, one reason we always turn to herbs  and more natural methods before drugs, unless in an emergency of course;)  Since we work so hard to eat good healthy food I want to be sure we are absorbing those nutrients!  I feel it's important enough that I'm adding the category of "Friendly Flora" to my recipes so it's convenient for everyone to find something that the whole family enjoys that helps with the flora in the gut!  There are a few there now I hope to add many more!  Enjoy!

 My sister grew some amazing cabbage in her garden this year.  With one of the heads (this head was about the size of 4 at the grocery store or bigger) I decided to try homemade Sauerkraut.  I have been trying to find ways to get more friendly flora into our diet as it helps with digestion, nutrient absorption and helps keep the right balance in your gut keeping yeast in check!  Of course as a lot of first attempts go it didn't turn out perfect but I learned what to do and hopefully you can learn from my mistake!

First off you slice your cabbage really thin.  Then layer it with sea salt (I used about 2 really large handfuls of cabbage and 1/2 Tablespoon of salt per layer) ending with salt in a crock or bucket.  My was a 3 gallon crock.  With each layer (now listen careful because I didn't do this) use a plate and press down on the cabbage squeezing as much water out of it as you can.  When all layers are complete put plate on top and hold it down with some sort of weight.  We used a gallon of Olive oil.  A rock, a gallon of water, whatever you have that will fit and weigh it down.  Then wait about 5-7 days or until it is done.  You may want to press it down to squeeze out more water so it has plenty of brine.  Once a day should be plenty.  Or if you find your cabbage seems dry adding a little water would work too.  Within a day or two I imagine you want it pretty well covered with brine or it will start to mold.

Like mine did!  Because I didn't squeeze the water out of the cabbage there was not enough brine soon enough and it started to mold on top.  I knew that couldn't be good.  So I called my Sister.  I told her that underneath the moldy cabbage there was some in a lot of liquid that look, smelled, and tasted just like Sauerkraut.  She said she wouldn't eat the moldy stuff (ummmm yeah)......

....but the Sauerkraut underneath should be just fine.  So I pulled the moldy stuff off the top put it in the garden and stuffed the rest in jars making sure there was plenty of brine and put them in the fridge.  We have been enjoying the Sauerkraut now for about 2 weeks and nobody got sick.  If anything we have better digestion! ;)  Next time I will know better what to do so I hopefully won't waste so much!  Live and learn!


Mike and Risa said...

Hey Tammie, that sure sounds yummy! My German roots sure love sauerkraut. Question - do you have to have a special crock or bucket or is there room to improvise? Thanks!

Tammie said...

Risa: I actually got a crock made for that type of thing. But you can use pretty much anything you want! Just a container to hold it in really and something to weigh it down!

Amber said...

I put mine in a regular qt size mason jar and just pound it down real hard with the end of a wooden spoon until the juices are at the top enough to cover all the cabbage. I'll have to make some more!

Anonymous said...

The crocks can be really expensive for this. But I had someone tell me she found 1 at an antiques store for much less.