bejay sauerkraut question

jodikayAugust 25, 2012

Hi, great forum and i am so glad i found it. i just made my 1st 3 qts of sauerkraut using bejay's instructions. i used 1 head green and 1 head purple cabbage. i grew cabbage for the first time and learned a hard lesson the cabbage worms are the enemy! i put my lids/screws on very very loose and will be putting them in the basement.

my questions are:

1. should i cover them with a towel for extra protection

2. since i am using lids to cover, should i be checking them after so many days to be sure i haven't lost liguid?

i having been checking NCHFP (great reference) but couldn't figure that part out for small batch recipes.

3. last question, is there a guestimate on when the sauerkraut will be ready for such a small batch?

Thanks for the advice!

Jodi

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Is there liquid brine in those jars? They look like just shredded cabbage.

Could you post the recipe instructions just as you did it please so we don't have to try to dig it up? Thanks.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 1:37PM
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jodikay

Dave, this is the instructions i used, it does not say anything about adding liquid.

*****

One of the reasons that I like to make sauerkraut in a jar, is because I grow my own cabbages, and they don't all become ripe or head-up at the same time. I'm not familiar with large scale sauerkraut making for that reason.
However, the following method is good for my small-scale home gardening and has worked for me.

I usually start with my regular Ball canning jars, either pints or quarts, depending on how much I have. As a rule, one head of cabbage will usually fill 3 pint-sized jars.

Method:

Grate cabbages in long shreds - white portion - remove outer green leaves - I use a Mandolin for this.

Pack the shreds in jars, using thumbs to force cabbage in tightly.

For pint sized jars, use 1 heaping tsp pickling/or Kosher salt. For quart sized jars, use 1 tbs pickling/or Kosher salt.

Make a "brine bag" with salt and water to place on top of jars, to help retard air contamination but allowing overflow to occur. Place filled jars in a receptacle to catch any oozing.

Sauerkraut will ferment faster in warmer climates, but slower in cooler ones. My pantry is about 70 to 75 degrees when I make kraut. I don't have any actual timing for "finished" time, but it is usually when it begins to smell Ok and taste Ok.

There are different methods of processing sauerkraut, depending on how you like the finished product. Suggest that you refer to the NCHFP for processing times, and/or the recipes that are given for making sauerkraut as well.

The above method works for me.

Bejay

Just my 2 c's.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 2:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Ahh that's what I was afraid off. That method has been discussed here many times but not always in full detail. Usually the discussions assume the reader knows the basics of making kraut.

That particular set of instructions doesn't cover it all. It doesn't make clear the part about mashing and squeezing the cabbage with the salt to create the brine.

When making kraut it is worked heavily with your hands before packing the jars. You work the cabbage with your hands in a bowl first squeezing and pressing until the liquid begins to develop - the salt pulls the water out of the cabbage. You then pressing it down into the jar - as bejay says, "tightly packing it, VERY tightly". In the process of doing that more brine is made and the level of liquid begins to rise in the jar. You keep packing and pressing until most all the cabbage is surrounded by the liquid.

Within a few days more brine will develop and may begin to over flow the jar and that is why the lids aren't screwed down tight and you set the jars in a container to catch the overflow.

You can dump those 3 jars into a large bowl and assuming you used the correct amount of salt (1 tsp. per pint) begin to work it well with your hands (some use a wooden mallet to actually beat the cabbage) until liquid starts forming. Then repack it into jars and press it down hard as you go. Those 3 jars will likely turn into 1 1/2-2 jars.

Here is my copy of the more complete instuctions.

Bejay Kraut instructions

Regular canning jars - wide mouth pint jars. Shredded the cabbage, and added 1 tsp salt per pint, mixing it in well to the cabbage and then pressing the cabbage down hard in the jar. I used a regular canning cap and lid. Then set the jars in a plastic container - to catch drips. The covers should not be screwed down too tightly, as they will leak some.

These are then allowed to ferment in a protected space - not completely sealed.

After several weeks, the juices will flow out of the jar a bit and bubbles appear in the jar - smelling good. From time to time, open up and taste test - I don't remember how long, but when I think it tastes right to me, I go ahead and process it.

Processing:

Sterilize pint jars and lids (you know how already).

Drain the kraut, bring the juice just to a boil. I taste the juice, and sometimes add a bit of white vinegar (my preference). Add the juice back to the kraut and heat just to boiling point - don't overcook.

Pack in jars and seal, process BWB 5 minutes. (just long enough to seal jars).

Hope this helps.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 4:14PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Also note, that while processing allows you to keep the kraut on pantry shelves, it destroys the very qualities that make fermented foods so healthy. To maintain those, don't process and store in fridge.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:12AM
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olga_6b

"Pack in jars and seal, process BWB 5 minutes. (just long enough to seal jars)".
In my opinion it should be:
"Pack in jars and seal, process BWB 5 minutes or alternatively pack in jars, put lids on and keep in a fridge. You can keeep your ferment this way for many months. Processing in not needed if you keep it at refrigirator."

Processing will make it less crunchy and, as mentioned by laceyvail, will kill all good for your health microorganisms. The main reason to ferment food it to get benefits of good to your health bacteria. If you process it, you can as well just pickle it in vinegar and process.
Just ferment and keep in the fridge.
Olga

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:41AM
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