Sauerkraut

marricgardensOctober 1, 2012

I've never made this before. I remember my MIL used to make it and have a large barrel of it sitting behind the kitchen door, the smell was very strong. I am not a fan of it but DH wants some so I need to know how to make it. Any good recipes? I have heard that some people make it in a jar, anyone tried that? Any tips? Marg

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

Hi Marg - the basic instructions are pretty easy - 3 T of canning/pickling (not table) salt mixed and squeezed well into each 5 lbs. of shredded cabbage, packed tightly into any glass or other fermenting container, weighted down so the cabbage stays below the liquid, covered, and set in a dark corner at about 70 degrees for approx. 12-21 days (depends on how strong you want it to taste). When it tastes good to you it is done.

One tip - a ziplock bag filled with brine (1 1/2 T salt to a quart of water) stuffed into the top of the jar makes a good weight and seals the jar at the same time.

NCHFP gives you all the basic instructions and also tells you how to store it when finished. But no barrels behind the door, ok? :)

The discussions linked below from here contain all sorts of tips and how-to info if you want to browse through them.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: sauerkraut discussions

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 6:30PM
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olga_6b

In my experience of 40+ years of making sauerkraut table salt can be used as successfully as any other salt. I used iodized and non iodized table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, pickling salt, european brands of salt and US salt over the years. The only difference is that that table spoon contains different amonunt of table salt and, for example, kosher salt (different particle size). So salt amounts need to be adjusted. It is best to use grams/ounces, not table spoons. Approx 2.0-2.25 ounces for 5 lbs of cabbage works well for me.
Each batch of sauerkraut will always slightly differ in taste depending on cabbage, temp variations, etc, but salt is really not a factor in my experience and for my way of making sauerkraut.
Olga

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 7:45PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I think the only concern or issue NCHFP has with using other forms of salt, other than the measuring differences, is that some contain fillers and stabilizers that can cause the brine to turn cloudy. i have used pure Kosher salt with no problems at all but some brands of Kosher salt (and sea salt) has fillers in it that I don't care for.

So it more of a quality issue not a safety or taste issue.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 1:27PM
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marricgardens

Thanks. I'm going to give this a try. Marg

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:17PM
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cannond

Dave, my brines are always cloudy once they get perking, and I use canning salt. Now, here, I talking about brines for dill pickles, dilly beans, etc. I'm only now waiting for my first batch of kraut.

Are you saying your brines remain clear?

Deborah

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Now, here, I talking about brines for dill pickles, dilly beans, etc.

Fermented dills or vinegar brine dills? 2 different things. And Dilly Beans aren't fermented they are a quick pack vinegar brine.

Yes, vinegar brines are clear, well cider vinegar clear. Fermented brines may or may not be clear-ish or not depending on the ingredients used, air exposure, air temps, hard water, even utensils used can all affect degree of clarity.

There are different qualities of canning salt but cloudy Dilly Beans would be unusual IME. Perhaps from blossom ends left on or excess bacteria on the beans. Cukes need both ends trimmed too.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:47PM
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olga_6b

Fermentation brine is always a little cloudy in my experience, whatever you ferment, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
Olga

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:47PM
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cannond

Dave, fermented on both counts.

And yes, I make fermented dilly beans.. no vinegar involved. Brined beans can be flavored with several herbs/spices. Mine are dill. Check out Ziedrich's book for recipe on brined beans.

Olga, I agree. Never perfectly clear with fermenting, not even cider clear. Wow, I'd like to see a perfectly clear ferment brine.

Deborah

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:16PM
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cannond

Opps. I should have said fermented beans can be flavored with several spices. Mine are fermented dilly beans.

Deborah

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:27PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Marg - my apologies for apparently dragging this discussion so far off topic. My intention was only to offer an explanation as to why using canning salt is recommended by the standard guidelines - that other forms can contribute to the cloudiness of the brine.

Those who are experienced with fermentation and choose to use other forms of salt are free to do so of course. But there is no need to dispute the guidelines simply because they prefer to use other salts.

Check out Ziedrich's book for recipe on brined beans.

But it was the reference to Dilly Beans and pickles of an unspecified type that threw me as we were discussing fermenting and Dilly Beans and most pickles are NOT fermented.

The recipe called Dilly Beans means one thing to most folks - a vinegar brined green bean with dill - as that recipe has been around for decades. It is not a fermented recipe. So cannond you really need to specify otherwise for clarity.

I don't use that particular book so I can't check her title in the book but I sure hope she calls them something else beside Dilly Beans - like maybe Fermented Dill Beans or Fermented Green Beans with Dill (yeah I know you can use all sorts of spices/herbs) - as a lot of confusion results otherwise as this discussion reflects. :)

As I said above, quick pack, vinegar-brined foods are clear - as clear as the vinegar used. Fermented brines may or may not be clear-ish depending on any number of factors - the ingredients used, waxed store-bought or home grown foods, air exposure - how the jar is sealed or not, if the container is dark or contents exposed to sunlight, air temps used for fermenting, hard water vs. soft water, utensils used, if any starters are added, if the blossom ends are not removed, etc. etc. etc. All those factors can affect the degree of clarity of a fermenting brine.

Does that mean a fermenting brine MUST be clear to be safe? Of course not. Does it mean a fermenting brine MUST be cloudy to work? No it doesn't. Is it possible to have a relatively clear fermenting brine? Yes it is.

I hope that clarifies.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 7:05PM
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cannond

"But it was the reference to Dilly Beans and pickles of an unspecified type that threw me as we were discussing fermenting and Dilly Beans and most pickles are NOT fermented. "

I'm sorry, Dave. I wasn't trying to be obtuse. I thought the discussion about salt was specific to fermented products, not vinegar brined.

"The recipe called Dilly Beans means one thing to most folks - a vinegar brined green bean with dill - as that recipe has been around for decades. It is not a fermented recipe. So cannond you really need to specify otherwise for clarity."

If you are uncomfortable with my calling my fermented beans Dilly Beans, then, alright, let's call them fermented dill-ish type beans.
Whatever they are called, they are green beans, seasoned exactly as I would season dilly beans, and preserved in the age-old tradition of fermentation.
As to "most pickles are NOT fermented." I'm sure you're right. But originally they were. Water bath processing is relatively new compared to the time honored methods our ancestors used. So I expect I can be forgiven for referring to fermentation as pickling or brining.

In future, I will try to be more temperate in my nomenclature.

I would still like to see clear fermentation liquid. I think it would be more attractive.

Deborah

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:07PM
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got_bullmastiff

To chime in... I have made sauerkraut in a jar. I use a picklepro from Homesteader's Supply

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:02PM
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annie1992

I've made sauerkraut for 40 years or so, and helped make it before that. We have used various types of salt, depending on what we had, although amounts do have to be adjusted depending on the type used. Canning salt, kosher salt, sea salt, table salt, it all works.

As has been mentioned, brines on fermented products are not clear, so additives in the salt make little difference, as long as the measurements are correct for the type.

Marg, good luck with that sauerkraut. I do not care for the commercially available types, they taste like vinegar, more pickled than fermented. Homemade stuff, though, it's a different creature altogether.

Annie

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:51AM
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