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Sour Cabbage

January 29, 2012

If you plant a lot of cabbage – you gotta make kraut.   Cole crops like our climate, so it’s pretty easy to go with the flow.

My hubby is on a modified GAPS diet, so he eats kraut daily.  It’s easy to make, and is an excellent way to store excess cabbage between growing seasons.

This is my last batch for the year, and usually when the crock is done fermenting, I repack the finished kraut in gallon or 1/2 gallon jars and store in the refrigerator or in the basement.  Either works fine.

For this batch I covered the top of the kraut with whole cabbage leaves, dinner plate (lead-free Fiesta, of course) and water filled plastic bags for weight and as an airlock.  To keep out dust and ??? I covered the crock with a cloth.  I have to say this batch was as trouble-free as using my Harsch pickling crock.  I posted photos of the kraut making back in October in this post.  There is one gallon remaining from that October batch.  If you’re adventuresome, here is an old post too about sauerruben, which is usually our late winter fermenting vegetable.

Doggies love sauerkraut!

The reveal.

The taste test.

Delicious!  Time to transfer to cold storage.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. raro permalink
    January 29, 2012 12:49 am

    LOVE kraut. It’s been of the easy success stories this past year as I’ve made lots more of my own foods and lots of ferments. Question: how cool is your basement? I’m keeping my krauts in the fridge, but will run out of room. I’m noticing how much faster they ferment now it’s summer (well, it’s SUPPOSED to be summer here in the southern hemisphere) compared to when I started out in winter: I’ve learnt to be much more prompt about getting it out of the crock and packed away. I’ve read that the faster they ferment, the shorter time they’ll keep. Have you found this to be true? How long do you generally leave them in the cellar for? (I know four years once 🙂 but usually?)

    Thanks as usual, for all I learn and enjoy from your posts. I love the many photographs.

    • January 29, 2012 7:38 am

      Raro, the basement stays about 50F in the summer and can get lower in winter. My kraut I made in the summer fermented fast, and I did refrigerate it, it was softer than I liked, but no one else complained… This last batch took about 7 weeks to get to this stage – our house is cold, or at least cool. We heat with wood, and if there is no fire, there is no heat 🙂 I think the kraut is too soft (for my taste) after about 6 months in the basement. However, that keeps me on my toes with other ferments. Pickled lettuce or other greens (Oshinko) like kale or spinach work better for me in the summer. Since it is a such a quick ferment, and I can make them in small batches. And we usually have an abundance of those types of greens in the warm weather.

  2. January 29, 2012 6:10 am

    Congratulations! 🙂

  3. Chris permalink
    January 29, 2012 9:06 am

    Looks wonderful….what is your ratio of salt to cabbage? Do you add anything else? I made some this past fall but added caraway seeds…I think too many because it was really yukky!! It ended up in the compost heap! I wonder if I’ll have little caraways growing in my heap next spring?? 🙂

    • January 29, 2012 10:12 am

      Chris, I use the standard 3 Tablespoons to 5 pounds of cabbage, erring on the side of more salt, since I am not real strict with the measuring. It seems we like the plain old sauerkraut the best, I’ve tried lots of different things, like the caraway, carrots, onions, peppers etc., and while it’s OK, I find I wish I would have just eaten the carrot, apple or whatever out of hand in the first place 🙂

      Compost piles are a wonder come spring – we had Principe Borghese tomatoes and cilantro coming out our ears one year – I shoulda thrown in some onions and we would have salsa compost;)

  4. January 29, 2012 9:35 am

    I love homemade sauerkraut:)

  5. Chris permalink
    January 29, 2012 11:57 am

    🙂 Ha! I did learn one interesting thing totally not related to this post…caraway is an herb plant related to the carrot and it’s “seeds” are really not seeds at all but the plant’s fruit! I really wouldn’t mind growing it at all, if just for the flower, which reminds me of Queen Anne’s Lace!!
    I will try the sour cabbage with just plain ole salt!!

  6. January 29, 2012 4:30 pm

    I make sauerkraut in my canning jars, so simple, no weighing it down or anything, no worry about anything getting into it. Then I can it .

    • January 29, 2012 4:36 pm

      becky3086, do you feel the ease of storage outweighs cooking the beneficial bacteria? I’m really after the bacteria for my DH’s intestinal maladies, so the less canning the better for us anyway.

      • Kristin permalink
        January 30, 2012 7:24 am

        I think Becky is talking about kraut via Nourishing Traditions. It is alive, not canned. This is how I do it as it is easier for me to do 3 or 4 jars at a time and keep them in my cheese fridge.

        • January 30, 2012 7:37 am

          Kristin, I get the small jar thing, but I think she is canning it after fermenting, or at least that’s what she said in her comment. Canning is good long term storage, and probably better than not preserving the harvest. I was just curious, is why I asked. I know it’s much warmer in your area than here in winter.

  7. Jenny in CG permalink
    January 29, 2012 4:42 pm

    I have 1/2 a head of store-bought cabbage and I think I will try making kraut. You see, we think we don’t like kraut but have never tasted homemade. I am hoping that homemade will win-over Hub, the 4 sons and even myself. I mean, after all, I thought I didn’t like kim chi until I tasted homemade and now I love it. I only make 4 pints at a time but once we start growing our own Napa, bok choy and regular cabbage I think I will have to invest in some crocks and make larger batches.

    Thanks for all the encouragement. I know you send it “out there” not knowing who all it will impact but rest assured, I among others value it enormously!

  8. January 29, 2012 5:59 pm

    I made a big batch during the summer with caraway seeds. It ended up a little slimy but with good flavor. I put it into quart jars and into the refrigerator, the slime went away and it is still tasty and crisp!

  9. PeterPansDad permalink
    January 30, 2012 11:50 am

    When I was a kid in a german town in Southern Illinois, the old-timers would pile it high on their sausages at the (forgive my spelling) Hofbrau fest. But your post got me doing some homework and I found that, among lactofermented things, kimshi has been proven to boost chicken immune health. I have never really cared for it but maybe I should try kraut again.

    I have four or six cabbages we planted late that have survived our mild winter to this point. Hmmm.


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