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Home Brew Forums > Food and Beverage > Cooking & Pairing > making sauerkraut
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:39 PM   #1
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Default making sauerkraut

I didn't know where else to bring it up, but I'm making sauerkraut. It relies on lacto to ferment. I'm wondering if anyone has tried their hand at it, and what some good recipes are. It looks like most people just let cut cabbage sit around with some salt on top and wait for a week. Anyone add anything else?
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
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Eh, it's $1.99 at the grocery store.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:26 PM   #3
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It's better homemade... Start with a good sized jar, green cabbage, salt, caraway seeds, and juniper berries

Slice the cabbage thin into sauerkraut sized ribbons

-Put a layer of cabbage in a jar or crock (~3-4") salt, caraway, and a few juniper berries(not too heavy on the juniper)
-Make another layer of cabbage, and season again
-Lather, rinse, and repeat until your jar is full

Press the heck out of the mixture with your fist or something else flat and wide. By now, the cut and salted cabbage should have started to wilt and give off some liquid, so it will be a bit pliable. Once you've pressed the mixture as much as possible, add more and press that down too, until your vessel is full enough, but still has room to add something to weigh it down.

As it sits, it will give off more liquid. Place something sanitized on top to keep the kraut submerged (a plate, stone, jar, whatever). Anything sticking out of the top will eventually mold, but you can just pull it off and toss that part. Cover with some cheesecloth, or a lid and store it in a cool dark area for a few weeks. Skim the scum that forms on the top every now and then, everything under the liquid is safe to eat.

Every now and then give it a taste and when you like it, stick it in the fridge, throw some brats on the grill and crack open a nice dubbel.

Warning: It will look gross when the scum/mold develops on top, but it's not unhealthy... skim it off (and don't show it to anyone pre-skimmed)
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
Eh, it's $1.99 at the grocery store.
Yes, and beer is only $6 a sixer at the grocery store.

One of the "keys" an oldtimer told me about was to make sure to really "pound" the salt into the cabbage. He told me it was the way to get lots of the water out, and yet end up with crisper kraut.

He made huge batches in his basement, then bagged it up in 1 quart ziploc bags and froze it. It was the best kraut I ever had.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:47 PM   #5
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Agreed, you can really press the cabbage down hard with out it squishing or breaking once it starts to wilt.

If you don't get enough liquid out of it after a day or two, top it off with some pickle juice or vinegar to fully submerge the cabbage.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Yes, and beer is only $6 a sixer at the grocery store.
Nice one

My local farmers market has a sauerkraut booth. They usually have about 4 or 5 different flavors. I've thought about making my own, but I doubt it'd be half as good as the stuff these guys make.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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we were given large ceramic fermenting pots this winter, so for the heck of it my wife tried making sauerkraut. being of eastern european descent, it's something that i grew up with so she wanted to humor me. turned out really good! it's also neat to know that bacteria from our house made that happen... true house flavor.

tip: use a food processor to shred the cabbage. also, avoid the temptation to over-salt. give it some time to react & take effect, if after a few days it hasn't softened up enough then add more.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:59 PM   #8
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If you don't get enough liquid out of it after a day or two, top it off with some pickle juice or vinegar to fully submerge the cabbage.
my wife just used tap water.

what are people's strategy with the "bloom" that forms on the surface? to skim or not to skim?
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:08 PM   #9
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Yes, and beer is only $6 a sixer at the grocery store.
LOL, true, but not the snobby stuff I'm into. I'll pair a good homebrew with pretty much any food, from steak to cheetos to jelly beans. I like sourkraut, but the only thing I can ever remember buying it for is making reuben sandwitches, maybe an occational braut dog.

Plus, when you have excess sourkraut in the fridge, how do you know when it's gone sour?? LOL...just kidding....YOU'LL KNOW!
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
I like sourkraut, but the only thing I can ever remember buying it for is making reuben sandwitches, maybe an occational braut dog.
I think this is the other thing that keeps me from making my own.. I just don't use it all that often. But the crap at the grocery store is really the natty light of sauerkraut, not even worth making a dog or reuben with that garbage - and I've tried many different brands, even whatever whole foods has was crap compared to good homemade stuff. It lasts pretty much forever though, so I buy a $6 crock that's about a quart or so and it takes me a few months or more to eat it all.
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