Sour Heads

busylizzy(z5 PA)September 17, 2008

Does anyone have a recipe for krauting whole cabbage heads?

Want to make some Pigs in a Blanket, as they call them around here, or Stuffed Cabbage.

Only seem to find a recipe that states core and fill center with salt, weigh down.


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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Stuffed cabbage, the Polish style is made with just the biggest cabbage leaves. You par boil the head, once you have removed the core. Gently peel back the softened leaves one at a time, and fill with a mixture of hamburg, rice, and a bit of chopped onion. Roll and tuck in the sides and continue rolling. Once you get a few cabbage layers down, you need to reboil the head to get more leaves softened and flexible to make more of these stuffed cabbages. I have never used a fermented head, and I like to add some whole tomatoes once the stuffed cabbage rolls are placed in a big casserole dish, covered, then baked. The use of instant rice is not recommended, and I usually like to add partially cooked Basmati rice, as it will soak up a bit of the juices once its baking. Cant enjoy these anymore due to a very high uric acid level in my system, which brings on gout.

Normally shreadded cabbage is used, and it to only involves salt (pickling type of course) and water. A whole tight layered cabbage may take months or ferment properly.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 10:37PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Yeah, this was a Slovack origin family that used whole head sauerkraut leaves.

Like fine wine, I don't mind waiting for months, as some foods and drinks are worth the wait.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 9:32AM
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I only like sour cabbage rolls! :) I've always bought heads from the grocery store, though. I do have a recipe in a book I just bought this year. Would you still like it even if I haven't personally tried it?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 11:30AM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Macky, they are a fond memory for me. Hands down the best cabbage rolls ever.
I have read about far away places where you can buy from the barrell or wrapped for use, but not here.

Yes, I would really like to see the recipe, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 11:52AM
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"1 cabbage
Sea salt
Very hot water
A plate or round board
A stone or other heavy object
A tall glazed container to fit the cabbage

"Select a tall container of glazed ceramic and a cabbage that barely fits inside. Clean the cabbage carefully and remove the core in such a way that the leaves do not come off with it. Sprinkle sea salt in the hole where the core was and put the cabbage in the container, which you then fill with very hot water.

"Press the cabbage down with a plate or a round board and place a noncalcareous stone or another heavy object, such as a jar filled with water, on top. Leave the container at room temperature (18 to 20˚C / 64 to 68˚F) during the fermentation period, which takes approximately fifteen days."

Busylizzy, I'm going to give you the instructions for the main recipe they gave, too, even though it calls for using 60 to 70 heads (!) and a 55-gallon wooden barrel. I thought you might find the process informative.

"This method is used traditionally in the former Yugoslavia. We purposely left it unchanged, even though it may not always be easy to have this much cabbage available, or to find the wooden barrel required for this recipe. In any case, a smaller barrel or a stoneware pot will work fine.

"Choose a good sauerkraut cabbage. The success of your sauerkraut largely depends on the quality of the cabbage. (It's well known that vegetables grown with chemical fertilizers do not preserve as well as those grown organically.) Leave the cabbage untouched for five to seven days after harvesting, so it fully ripens and the leaves soften. (Soft leaves are essential for making sarmas, stuffed cabbage leaves traditionally prepared int he former Yugoslavia from lacto-fermented cabbage.)

"During this time, prepare the barrel. Brush it carefully and rinse it several times in cold water, then rinse it one last time in very hot water... Let the barrel dry for four to five days in a clean cellar, set off the ground on a wooden support, high enough for any liquid to drain through the tap at its base.

"Once the barrel and the cabbage are ready to work with, wash each cabbage and remove the core and any damaged leaves, making sure that no soil or slugs remain. Fill the crevice of each cabbage with coarse sea salt. Then place the cabbage in layers in the barrel, arranging heads of different sizes to fill any large gaps. Sprinkle each layer with coarse salt; insert several pieces of horseradish root here and there. For red color, add two peeled red beets or one red cabbage; for yellow color, add a few carrots or a generous handful of very ripe corn.

"When the barrel is full, place the round board, the stone and the clean cloth (for protection from dust) on top. If your barrel has no tap, insert a tube down the bottom, leaving the other end accessible at the top, but covered by the board. Leave the cabbage with no added liquid for three to four days, so it will pack down well. Then fill the barrel with cold water and let the cabbage stand for at least fifteen days before starting to siphon it.

"Siphoning serves to distribute the salt evenly, and must be done once a week throughout the fermentation process (four to five weeks). Drain all of the liquid from the barrel to buckets via the tap and then immediately return it to the barrel. If you're using a tube instead of a tap, suck at the free end of the tube like a siphon to empty the barrel.

"During the first few days of fermentation, a light foam may appear on the surface of the barrel. Remove it immediately and wipe the sides of the barrel with a sponge. You must continue to check for foam during the preservation process and clean it off as necessary. If you prefer, to make the job easier, insert a cloth between the cabbage and the board to collect the foam; the cloth should be washed each time you open the barrel."

Both recipes credited in the book to Mrs. Petrovic, Paris.

These are from the book, Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning (link below).

Here is a link that might be useful: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 4:19PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Here is a video showing how to make kim chee (Korean sauerkraut) with heads of cabbage instead of chopped up pieces. It's an interesting parallel to the sour head method.


Here is a link that might be useful: Kim Chee

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:14PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Great Macky , THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
I do have a whiskey wooden barrel, complete. Never been inclined to make whiskey though, just sits in the basement lol.
The guys I know who make apple jack go to a barrel maker every fall and get these cute smaller barrels, 1 to 5 gallons I might have them get me a few, I have lots of stainless steel I could use also.
Who knows, if they come out well I may end up in the sour head business, lots of Ukranians around here.

Kim Chee, the Koreans laugh that I am the only blonde haired white women who likes it. The Korean church gals here makes awesome Kim Chee, not as much fish sauce as the commerically prepared stuff.

In my haste of reading a prior comment, I didn't mention to Ken, sorry to hear of your Uric Acid issue, hope you can correct this. I have known people who have gout, very painful.
Knock on wood, my iron stomach is holding far

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 12:58PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I try to stay away from most of the high uric acid foods. It includes beef, beans, cabbage family and a few others. Luckily I was not striken with it for very long. Every once in a while I do like a stuffed cabbage, but its low on my list now. My brother used to make lot of Kim Chee and would make meals out if it. The funny part about the gout was it happend overnight. I had been given a steroid should 30 days before the gout. The steroid was to reduce my allergy issues and ragweed. Once it wore off, the pains were intense, as I could barely walk.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 5:43PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Coffee and Tea are the ones I need to cut down on before I take away my favorites, beans and broccoli. If I never ate red meat agin, that would be ok with me I only eat it 2 times or so a month now. Of course I don't turn away when offered deer meat, those deer get fed well arund here, soybeans and corn. Tasty they are

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 11:32PM
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