"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making Sauerkraut

I can finally scratch something off my wanting to try list - making Sauerkraut!

It really was fairly easy and next year I will be sure to make more!
I used 3 heads of cabbage from  my garden. I believe it was the Late Flat Dutch Cabbage.
I chopped it up and then threw it into a crock. I then added about 3tbsp of Kosher Salt.

Then, and this I couldn't comprehend until I did it, you just mix the cabbage and salt with your hands until the salt draws out enough of a brine from the cabbage for it to ferment in. I was skeptical, but it happened! After enough churning with my hands, there was enough brine for it to soak it.

I then filled a gallon ziplock bag with water and laid it on top of the kraut, making sure it was all submerged in the brine, to act as my weight. Then, I placed it in a cool, dark place in our basement, threw a tea towel over the top to prevent dust from getting in, and let it sit....for 8 weeks!

I was told it would get nasty and moldy on top - and it sure did!
YUCK! This is what it looked like when I pulled the tea towel off.

Gross. I think, usually, people let it ferment 4-6 weeks. Mine went 8. Partly because I forgot about it, and partly because I was afraid of this mold!

You can imagine hubby's reaction. He doesn't plan on eating any - to bad for him.
Lacto-fermented cabbage, which ='s Sauerkraut, contains tons of beneficial bacterias to help aid in your digestion (I know, this is the first thing people think of when they hear Sauerkraut - digestion!), and provides a good amount of vitamin C and some vitamin A.

I could go on and on about all the reason why Sauerkraut, made naturally fermented, is good for you. Just google it and you'll be overwhelmed with information.

This photo below is after I cleaned up all the nasty mold ;)

I decided against throwing the jars into a water bath canner because I learned that, being this is lacto-fermented, this Sauerkraut will store in the fridge just fine for up to 6 months. And plus, if I water-bath canned it, the heat would kill off a lot of the bacteria that was created when fermenting it. And that would totally defeat the whole purpose now, wouldn't it!

Have you ever tried your hand at naturally fermented Sauerkraut?

This post has been linked up over at The Nourishing Gourmet
and Whole New Mom

Now click here to further read up on the MOLD that forms on the Kraut!


Unknown said...

I love cabbage to death but I cant stand sauerkraut but I was totally fascinated with how you make it, I never knew the benefits of digestion either. Holy hell it looks nasty with the mold on it lol

The Starved Idiot said...

woo hoo! I LOVE natural sauerkraut! a few years ago we bought a small ceramic crock, wooden "kraut stomper" and wooden weight board from Lehmans. tragically the crock is storing seed garlic. your post was the kick in the tookis I needed - thanks!

Bee Girl said...

This is still on my list of things to do! I WILL do it...eventually ;-) Congrats on your first sauerkraut! It looks fantastic!!!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Wow yours looks great. I meant to make some this year and just didn't get around to it. After seeing yours I will definitely get in gear and make some this coming year! If you get a chance I am having a giveaway and I would love for you to enter.

Mrs. Farmer said...

We did it last fall, and I can't wait to do it again! Mine went 7 weeks, if I remember correctly, and it was crisp and delicious! We did not get mold & we used a stoneware dish and some salt-filled mason jars for weight. We used a bleached out 5 gallon paint bucket (the unused, clean kind you can buy), and it was in the corner of my dining room.

I froze the results, and they came back out tasting as fresh and crisp as the unfrozen stuff.


Vanessa said...

That looks easy enough but the mold part really makes me think twice about trying it.

Ehlara said...

I love sauerkraut, and would love to do this, but I really don't get the mold. I'm actually allergic to mold, so I'm concerned I wouldn't be able to eat this. Can you point me to any information about the mold and safety?

Unknown said...

Ehlara - I have a post coming tomorrow, actually, that breaks down the mold issue :)

Wendy said...

oh fun - I would like to try this!! The last fermented thing I tried was kombucha - my family did not enjoy that. i've got to try this sauerkraut!

Kristine Farley said...

Thanks for this post and pictures. I have yet to make sauerkraut. But your post has given me more courage.

AnnaMae said...

Does it smell bad when it's fermenting? We have a basement now that I could ferment it in but hubby will put the kibosh on it if he has to smell it for a month.

Unknown said...

Thursday Next -- I never noticed a smell. We have several 'rooms' in our basement though, and it was in the back room. It was right near our laundry though, and I didn't smell it. I *think*, if you have a smell coming from it, it could mean it went bad...depending on the smell.

AnnaMae said...

I'll go ahead and try it then. Too late for homegrown cabbage this year though.

ABarnard said...

I have tried making my own with red cabbage. Is there a difference in taste between red and green cabbage? I haven't been able to stoamch the red sauerkraut it is still sitting in my fridge, haven't touched it for quite awhile. Wish I liked it more because i would really like to use it as a probiotic.

Unknown said...

abarnard - If I understand right, there should be no difference between red and green cabbage other than the color. I do know 'purple' veggies tend to bleed there color when cooked so I'd imagine they'd do the same when fermenting, but other than that, I don't know that it would make the taste much different. I haven't tried making Sauerkraut with red cabbage yet so I can't speak first hand. Could you mix it in with some store bought kraut and a pork dish to still benefit from it w/o tasting it as much?!