Monday, January 12, 2015

The Gift of Sauerkraut.

For my birthday I got a wonderful gift. As my family watched me open it, and laughed, I tried to keep on a "thank you , I love it" face. In reality, it more like "what in the 'world' is it".
A fermentation kit...of course! It's actually
pretty cool and right up my alley. I've made sauerkraut in crocks, (side note here, I recently read an article that said that if your crock had been used in the past for "glassing eggs" it will not work for kraut. The way to tell is if dry it has a white filmy look, wet, it goes away but comes back when it dries again.) but what if you don't want to start that much? What about kimchee, pickled eggs...there are a million ideas for fermented foods to be tried. This kit fits a wide mouth jar. A test quart is perfect for trying something you haven't tried before. I have some 1/2 and gallon jars that this will work great on, but for today I only had 1 head of cabbage. I have a couple tutorials pinned on my fermenting board on +Pinterest and I watched a video on +YouTube . I put what I thought was the best advice together.
You'll Need
1 head of cabbage, purple or green
1T canning salt
Shred the cabbage with a knife or in the food processor. Save back one f the outer leaves for later.

Mix your salt and cabbage
together in a large bowl and let sit for several hours. This gives the salt time to draw some of the moisture out and makes packing it into you jar much easier. Mine sat about 5hrs. because that's when I had time to get back to it.
When your ready place cabbage into the jar a handful at a time and pack it down. The handle of a wooden spoon works well.
As you pack it the moisture will start to come out. This is what you want, it's the brine that will need to cover the cabbage for it to ferment. Takes a little elbow grease but letting it sit with the salt makes this much easier. When your out of cabbage and have packed until the liquid is at least a half inch above the cabbage, it's time. If your family didn't realize what a great gift this contraption would be, no fear. Use the extra leaf that you set back to cover your kraut, a shot glass or something small like that can help keep it submerged. Place your flat and ring on and tighten "finger" tight, then loosen 1/2 turn. The fermentation process produces gasses that will need to be able to vent.
If you have one of these they come with the directions
The glass weight goes in on top of the cabbage, rubber gasket, flat with hole in it, ring. Then then cork and the water valve. Sunlight can kill the process so I laid a dish towel over it and set it in the corner of my counter. After a week or so you can start testing it and it's ready when it satisfies your taste. I'll let you know how this goes.
Day 5
Starting to get that kraut smell and taste. No scum to skim. Very excited about this tool.
You can find this single kit and several larger kits at Fermentools.com. I've also found several more great sites for recipes and pinned them on Pinterest.
Day 17
Still more salty than kraut but all seems well. Just read about the virtues of patience when it comes to fermentation. Not one of my stronger traits but worth the wait.
Day 29
I'm so excited! Kraut is ready to eat! Sure, it could go a little longer, but...
And I'm lucky enough to have a package of sausages from my moms butchered pigs in the freezer.
 
                                                                         
Top with some spicy mustard and....
WOW! 
Soon as I get done posting this I'm making another order. And starting another recipe!