Friday, July 29, 2011

Food: Sauerkraut the Mountain Way - Recipe and Tutorial

Yesterday, we made kraut. My sister Missy, Mom, Dad, and myself that is. Mom's kraut ROCKS! We have it often on Sunday when we eat dinner at her house with the family. It goes with almost any meal. We made 47 quarts and 6 pints. I took pics to during to share with everyone.

The amount you make would depend on how much you like kraut I suppose. Yesterday Dad said when we were all living at home they made around 40-50 quarts a year. Now with just the two of them there they make 20-30 quarts so there is enough to share with us all at the family dinners on Sunday. 

Missy had 6 basketball sized cabbages yesterday and that was 50 quarts of kraut. My other sister Opal has 5 of the same size that still needs worked up next week. We are going to have kraut coming out our eyeballs and I am excited. I LOVE it!

With that said, if you don't have a large family, and don't love kraut... you wouldn't want to make 6 basketball sized cabbages into kraut. Use your own judgement on how many you need. 
{Mom's been making this for at least 50 years so I am pretty sure it won't}

Here we have the cabbages.
and the ingredients: distilled vinegar, pure cane sugar, and preserving salt.
Wash, wash, wash those jars.... it took a while!
Be sure to sterilize them. There are several methods... you can sterilize them by running them through your dishwasher I've heard or by boiling them in a canner.  Someone even suggested heating them in the oven at 250. However, using the dishwasher would probably be the quickest and easiest.
Peel the outer leaves off and feed to your rabbits.
Put the cabbage in the sink, rinse it off, and start cutting.
Until it looks like the picture below. You don't want to use the stalk {center piece} in your kraut.
You can eat the stalk. Mom just cuts it up and lets it soak in water mixed with a teaspoon of each: preserving salt, sugar, and vinegar. She just leave it sitting on the sink. They are done in a few days and we eat them right up. If you had a quart worth you could store them in the same method as your kraut but you would want to use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. They never last that long at our house though. They are gone in no time.
Slice the cabbage into pieces small enough to go into your food processor.
Then run it through.
Ours ended up looking like this. You can make bigger chunks or even strings if you want. It still works.
Pour into a large bowl.
Begin filling your jars.
Pack the cabbage in well but not extremely tight. Make sure not to fill all the way to the top. About like the jar on the left. The one on the right was waiting for more cabbage to be chopped.
Once all your jars are filled with cabbage add one tablespoon of preserving salt into each jar.
Next add one tablespoon of vinegar.
Then add one tablespoon of sugar.
Get yourself a funnel and some hot water. It needs to be hot but NOT boiling. We heated ours on the stove. You can see the steam in the picture. Pour the hot water into the jars. Make sure you have enough to cover the cabbage.
Stick a knife into the mixture to allow the water to go all the way down in there.
Then add even more water. Make sure the cabbage is covered.
Now add your lids. It is OK to use old lids and rings. Just make sure they are clean and sterlized. You don't want them to seal so old ones will work for this. Screw the lids on, but don't tighten them down real tight. You want the cabbage to be able to work.
Now your cabbage is ready to store and work itself into kraut.
Put your jars in a cool and very dark place. This WILL be a messy process and you wouldn't want to store it somewhere that you mind having spillage. Mom has always stored her kraut in her basement on wood shelves that Dad built. It is underground and there are no windows. Your kraut should be ready to eat in about 3 weeks but the longer it sits, the better it is. 
And just to remember the past, when I was growing up we used one of these suckers to chop up our cabbage. Now that was a lot of work!
Photo found at The Collectors Corner .

I shared this post at Fresh from the Farm: Farm Photo Friday.


Grace said...

Question - after the kraut works for a while do you can it?

Alana Jo said...

Hey Grace. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy yourself. To answer your question... no we don't can it. We just leave it in the basement and use it whenever we need it. To cook it we just rinse it good, put it in a cooker {saucepan} with water, maybe a 1/2 a cup, and around a tablespoon of oil and cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes and then it is ready to eat. We like to cut up hotdog wienies in it. It will last forever. It should be a white or yellowish color. If it is black then it has ruined; something didn't go right. Enjoy!

Kateri said...

I'm glad you posted this. I'm growing kraut cabbage this year and planning on making sauerkraut this fall. I've made it in the past, but it has been a long time
(10 plus years). I am bookmarking your page.

Alana Jo said...

Kateri, I'm glad to be some help! Can't wait to see how yours turns out!

Teresa said...

You make this look really easy. If only I liked sauerkraut I'd be trying this. Hmmm...maybe homemade would be better.

Alana Jo said...

Teresa, thanks for stopping by. I promise you, it is easy and homemade is better! Yum!

Anonymous said...

Alana Jo,

Hello and I have a few quick questions
, you and your family make your kraut very similar to how my G-Ma made hers..(yum) but you add sugar, and rinse yours to eat it...she only used salt and vinegar put it in a jar, on the shelf for about 8 to 10 weeks to work, then we could help was favorite part was the juice off the kraut..that was reserved for me, and only loved the stuff! so here I there a reason you rinse yours ? and use the sugar ? I want to make sure I do it up right....and about how long does yours keep ? she went thru about 100 + jars a year, she had 8 boys-who had 7 wife's and at least 3 to 5 kids each..and we liked the, thanks for your help, and I hope to hear from you soon...Blessings, Sandy Hensley Fowler...(My family is from Burning Springs in Manchester KY :)

Alana Jo said...


I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I hope it can be helpful to you. I'm not sure why mom uses the sugar, but the kraut is not sweet (at all) after it works. It is very sour. The only reason we rinse it is so that it isn't too salty. Some people don't rinse theirs. Just whatever you like best. It will last for years, but we make what we will eat from year to year.

Hope that helps!

Thelaney said...

We have made sauerkraut for years. No vinegar, no sugar. Just cabbage and kosher salt. We slice up the cabbage and layer it in a crock with salt sprinkled between each layer. Then press the whole thing down with a plate and weight on top of the plate. It makes it's own juice. Let it sit in a dark cool place for about a month, occasionally skimming off foam that forms on top. When it's done fermenting (taste to be sure), we can it, using water bath.

Alana Jo said...

Very neat! Thanks for sharing. I bet it is yummy!