Tuesday, July 9, 2013



Sadly, sauerkraut cannot be made any other way than in a crock...there is a jar method, which I will talk about too..but I have never done it. I studied the three canning books I have used for the better part of my life, and I even went to the Library to see if there was more to see.....A friend of mine works at a local grocery here, and I asked them about how they made their "store brand" kraut.....and they use a crock too..only it is a HUGE vat type....so....it must be made the way it has been made for several centuries...that I could find.(I will talk about the jar method...)
   To 50 pounds of cabbage (sounds like a lot?!), use 1 pound of canning salt (use canning salt, or sea salt..NOT Iodized salt, could also use "pretzel" salt, and also "coarse" salt.)
remove outer leaves and any damaged or wilted leaves. Wash and drain.
Shred, using a slaw cutter, sharp knife,,or a shredder, into thin shreds about the thickness of a dime.
In a large container, mix 5 lbs cabbage with 2 T salt, mix well.Let stand several minutes to wilt slightly, this allows packing without excessive breaking or bruising of the shreds.
Pack salted cabbage firmly and evenly into a large container (like a crock),Use a wooden spoon or a wooden tamper, press down firmly, until juice comes to the surface.
Repeat the shredding, salting, wilting, packing, until all cabbage has been used.
The container used, should be thought about before hand, as you want to pack almost to the top, leaving about 4 inches from the top.
Cover cabbage with a clean , white, muslin cloth,tucking the edges down against the inside of the container. Weight cabbage under the brine-most common used is a plate with some sort of weight on it.Some of the brine will get onto the plate. The cabbage should never be exposed to the air. A glass jar filled with water is a good weight to use on the plate.
It takes about 6 weeks for fermentation to be complete....Every day, you must take the muslin cover off...rinse well in HOT water, skim the scum off the top of the cabbage, and cover and weight again. Between 5 and 6 weeks, you can taste test how you like it.
WARNING: ANY signs of a pink color to ANY part of the cabbage...toss it out! You would be seeing botulism in the making......
HOT WATER BATH:  15 mins., pints, 20 mins., quarts.
Heat sauerkraut to simmering, pack in jars, cover with hot liquid, to 1/2 inch from top, seal as usual.
 I am going to give a link to "sauerkraut in 11 steps", and I was surprised at how loosey-goosey they were about not removing the scum daily.......http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Sauerkraut
This next link is very informative, but I have never made it this way...http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/how-to-make-sauerkraut/
all I can say, is if you are interested, to give it a try...many failures happen before successes! So do not be discouraged! At best, when you are finished, and you have to toss it out...you have made great compost!!!
You cannot make sauerkraut without salt. When you open a jar, to eat, you can put it in a colander and rinse it well, that will take a lot of salt away.
Ginger root does not keep the "scum" away....you have to have the scum, for the natural fermentation.....all it will do is give a flavor to the kraut. remember...the microbes are in the air......not all in the cabbage......the muslin keeps the light off the cabbage, but lets air in........and keeps the dust and dirt out. I sit my crock on a chair in a corner near my sink....so I see it every day..and remember to tend to it...keep it out of the sunlight tho...not in front of a window.
Someone asked about canning green beans and potatoes together,,,yes, you can..you can mix any type vegetables together,,,,BUT...you must can them according the the LONGEST canning time of whatever vegetable you have mixed...green beans are : 20 mins, pts., 10 lbs. pressure, 25 mins., qts., 10 lbs. pressure. Potatoes,35 mins., pts., 10 lbs. pressure, 40 mins., qts., 10 lbs. pressure- so you would can the green bean/ potato mixture for the longer time.Will it make the beans mushy? No, not really...if you are thinking ahead to your canning...you would not totally cook the green beans, just a quick blanching, as the canning time will cook them pretty much then, and also, when you open that jar later..you will be at the very least, heating it up...
Many people have mushy canned foods, because they forget that the food is not going to be used right away, and are so use to "just cooking", then their canned products are a disappointment...a little thinking ahead saves a lot of that.
Sauerkraut does not smell bad at all while it is fermenting..you CAN tell something is in the kitchen!! LOL! But it is not a disgusting smell....nor does the "scum" look bad either. I have a very sensitive stomach and I never thought I could do this...but about 35 yrs ago my new hubby asked me to try.....and I held my nose!! LOL! BUT..I was surprised! It bothers me when I see, like that one web site where she puts them in the jars...and does nothing......because the keeping of the scum off the top...is so important..IT is what can cause spoilage.....so if you try the jar method, I would still take a spoon each day and take it off....it is on the sides, near the top, and sometimes on the very top most of the cabbage...a good "skimming" with a spoon is good.and it IS important to wash all vegetables..even if they are from your own garden...there is no mystical microbe hiding in a cabbage leaf..if it is...it is most likely a worm!! from the cabbage butterfly! Think about it....during the night..animals walk in gardens.......and do things in gardens....so I WOULD WASH all my vegetables.....if I need a special microbe I will just breathe a little deeper!!!
Thursday I will give a primer on canning vegetables.....
Someone had asked about my favorite advice......it is not really advice, but something I heard over and over and over, growing up...."You eat what you can, and you can what you can't! come winter...you will be glad you COULD!!!!!"
I think my Mom and Grandma said that just to keep me inspired in the kitchen when I was little!!! LOL!


New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning,

Hope you enjoy Sue Ann's post on Sauerkraut Cooking and canning.

It is in the 80's here and sprinkling right now. I guess it will rain on and off. Sun would be nice.


fiona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This is a WONDERFUL post and answers a question that I have had about canning two types of veggies together - THANK YOU! Great job and certainly relevant to what is happening in my kitchen now.

'Much appreciated -

Fionalina said...

Thank you Sue Ann very informative as always
I bought some jars at the weekend and hope to try tomatoes soon

Hope the sun shone for you Marilyn
Glad Elmer was pleased with the response to his post yrsterday


New York State Of Mind said...

Hello Everyone,
Glad you enjoyed Sue Ann's post. I don't know much about sauerkraut except that you can eat it on hot dogs. I have learned a lot on Sue Ann's post.

It is raining now. Still hope that we get a little sun today.


SueAnn said...

Thank-you! You are all so kind....we have had more rain..Ohio is becoming the new swamplands of America! and humid, of course!
I will talk about tomatoes tomorrow, because they are a fruit, although we all call it a vegetable..so there are several different ways you can can them....
I will do a post next Tuesday, that is just recipes....
Just be sure about your seals...some will re-seal, and then re-can, any jars that did not seal the first time..but it depends on what you have..the 2nd canning could make it mush....and some do subscribe to the turning over thing..but..remember...they may not keep it stored long...or have just been lucky not getting food poisoning,,and paraffin on jams and jellies has been "outlawed" by the Federal Agriculture for about 50 years..but some do it...and that is risky too....I have done it..and tossed a lot of jams out...so...be safe..be smart....a few pennies spent...could be a life.... when Dec. comes, you will feel secure offering anything you have canned with a seal, done the right way...! and get compliments too!!!

annie said...

I hope to try the sauerkraut, thanks for answering the questions, and for posting on your blog. I have a crock, just need the cabbage now!

SueAnn said...

I forgot to add...the old recipes always call for 50 pounds.....of cabbage..but not everyone has a huge garden.....so..I would suggest what I do...when my 50 pounds fails to come on when I want it!!! Take the basic 5 pound to 2 T of salt.....that is good for a small family..and for a "try it and see" too, and..if all you can grow or find..is about 2 cabbages!
Remember ti keep it out of the light...that jar link used clear jars....that is not a good idea...and many old canning books show how to do things...with clear crocks..that is only so you can see what they are doing.....If it is going to go bad..you will see it immediately, on the very top, each day you clean the muslin....(and rinse the plate off)
Breakfast chores: make coffee or tea, feed the dog or cat, clean the sauerkraut!!! LOL!! Be sure to mark on the calendar when you start it...so easy to forget!

SueAnn said...

Marilyn, you are so funny!!!! Now you know when you eat that hotdog or brat...it is cabbage that has been sitting around for a few weeks!!!!
a good , old fashioned German meal is sauerkraut and sausage, or brats...just heat up a pan of the kraut,(now you know where the nick name "kraut" comes from!!), add a sausage..like a summer one, or a few brats...depending on how many you are to feed.....mix in some tomato juice. or catsup, give it a good stir and let it simmer, covered, til hot.....Lots of Germans serve this over mash potatoes..good comfort food! I add caraway seed to it while it cooks...gives a nice flavor-say to a quart of kraut, add 1 sausage, or 4 brats, and about 2 T caraway seed....catsup or tomato for however moist you want it....some add chopped hard boiled eggs over it when they plate it....

Countryside Reflections said...

SueAnn, you're certainly a wealth of information. I've never canned anything, but if I did I know where I could go for information. My mom canned peaches when I was young, and boy where they good. But it's not a new skill that I want to take on, although I admire those who do.


New York State Of Mind said...

Thank for Sue Ann. So it's cabbage that's sat around for a few weeks. It is very good on a pastromie, too.

When I grew up, we had a cherry tree in the back yard and my Mom canned cherries. She also made jams and jellies.


Laura said...

50 lbs of cabbage? That is a lot of sauerkraut! :) Thank you for sharing these recipes :)


SueAnn said...

You can start small, Laura, 5 lbs , 10 lbs, and 2 t salt per 5 lbs....that is about 2 cabbages...5 lbs-if they are a good size. Once it shreds down, then wilts,,,sure looks like a lot less than 5 lbs!!! Stores sell it in 1 lb. bags, and 2 lb. jars....50 lbs would keep you going for a whole year easy!!!! LOL!