Saturday, September 22, 2007

Adventures in Kraut Making, Day 1

Joe and I recently watched an episode of Good Eats where Alton made sauerkraut. Alton made it look easy and unscary. The scum potential and lengthy wait time have deterred me from making sauerkraut to date. But it is cabbage season and there have been cabbages in the CSA shares this month. Joe will only eat cabbage a few times a year without complaining and there is just too much of it sitting around occupying space in the fridge, so I decided I would try my hand at sauerkraut making. I hope this works. We'll know in a month.

Here is the recipe. My comments are italicized.


Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004
Show: Good Eats
Episode: Good Eats: Eat this Rock!
Yield 12 cups

5 pounds green cabbage, shredded (I used three medium to large sized heads.)
3 tablespoons pickling salt
1 tablespoon juniper berries (I couldn't find any here in town, so I omitted for now and will add it in when I can get to a store in Columbus that carries them. I'll go to the Penzeys if I have to.)
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (Mine are a little old, so I toasted them a few minutes to make them more fragrant and then cooled them before using.)
1 quart water, in a sanitized glass jar

In large mixing bowl (this should be read as huge mixing bowl. I used two 4-quart bowls and they were filled to the brim.), mix cabbage thoroughly with salt, juniper berries, and caraway seeds, using hands or tongs. If using your hands, make sure that they are very clean prior to mixing. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Pack cabbage mixture down into a large plastic food container (Alton used a bread container with the insert for removing the bread slices, which he used instead of the lid mentioned in the next step, but Walmart didn't have that type of container, so I couldn't do that.). Top with a lid smaller than the opening of the container and place a glass jar filled with the quart of water on top of the lid. Place in cool area overnight (65 to 70 degrees F). In a day, the cabbage should have given up enough liquid to be completely submerged. The jar serves as a weight to keep the cabbage submerged and away from air.

Check cabbage every other day for approximately 2 weeks and skim the surface of scum, if necessary. Let stand for 4 weeks. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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