Kale kraut

happyday(WI4a)November 7, 2011

Just started two gallons of kale kraut. Cut up kale and put it in a clean 5 gallon fermenting bucket, weighted with two plates and a bottle of water, with one cup of pickling salt (comes to a tablespoon per quart) and put the lid on the bucket with an airlock.

How long do I leave it in there till I can eat it or put in the fridge? Can I pack more fresh kale in tomorrow, with more salt, or is it bad to have at different degrees of fermenting?

Also, I have lots more kale, winterbor and redbor, they are like 4-5 foot stems. What else can I do with all this kale? Can I blanch it or steam it then refrigerate in baggies?

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cabrita(9b SoCal)

You can also make kimchi, similar to kraut but taste different.

I sautee mine with a little olive oil and salt and when cool put into baggies and freeze.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 10:55AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

How long depends on the air temps where you are fermenting. You just follow the standard instructions for fermenting sauerkraut - work with 5 lbs. at a time and add 3 T salt for each 5 lb of kale/kraut.

Make sure it is fully sealed off from the air - a bag full of brine works best - or you'll get molds and scum.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Fermenting

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 11:14AM
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tracydr(9b)

Wow, I'm going to have to try this. For some reason I can grow kale but never can get cabbage to grow well!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 11:34AM
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happyday(WI4a)

Dave, I didn't think of a bag, thanks for the tip. I have it in a 6 gallon ale pail with the lid locked on and and an airlock. There is a couple plates holding it down but they are upside down, there could be airspace underneath. When I add more kale and salt, I might turn the plates right side up. Wish I had a good large weight like a heavy circle of stainless steel with a handle. Kale is strongly ruffled and you really have to press to force it down.

Cabrita does freezing kale change the texture much?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 1:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

When I add more kale and salt,

Note that adding additional to that batch which is already fermenting is not advised. Not only has the brine has been diluted but the fermentation slows or stops. As the instructions say, once started you "don't disturb the batch". Doing so only allows for contamination.

One batch is made at a time so if you want to make more another container will be needed.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 3:15PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

This type of fermentation is done by a succession of different species of bacteria, each of which is suited to a different stage of fermentation. I suspect that adding new kale to a batch which has advanced beyond the initial stage could disrupt the process.

Jim

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 8:12PM
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david52_gw

Please report back with your results - I had a bumper crop of kale this year, and though about making 'kraut, but then I read a few reviews on them internets and what I read dissuaded me - too sulfury and so on. So I have a freezer full of the stuff......

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 10:23AM
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happyday(WI4a)

David did you blanch or boil the kale before freezing? Did the ruffles relax so you could press it into bags?

According to the NCHFP it takes 3-6 weeks to finish. Will report back with what happens.

Meanwhile I also have a bumper crop of kale that I didn't know what to do with. It's out there getting snowed on right now. Any last minute ideas for about 25 gallons worth of the stuff that I could try?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 1:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If you like cooked greens as we do then just can it just like spinach or chard. Great in soups and stews or quiche or just plain hot with a dash of vinegar or a little butter and salt and pepper.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 5:02PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Dave I'm not ready to try pressure canning yet.

I have a pressure canner but it has a rubber plug that blew out before I was given the canner, and although I could buy a replacement plug, I figure it might just blow out again. Are those rubber blowout plugs a hazard, do they fail and blow out under normal use?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 6:34PM
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david52_gw

I wilt it - put about an inch of water in a 3 gallon stock pot, bring it to a boil, rapidly stuff the rest of the stockpot with washed kale, put the lid on, it wilts in a couple of minutes, maybe needs a stir or two. Then strain it out, cool it off, into plastic bags, press out the air, and freeze. This shrinks it down considerably, and the ruffly part just gets steam-ironed out -;)

I grew Russian Red kale this year - and mine has withstood several nights now around 17-18F and a couple of light snows - it tastes wonderful now, much more tender, even a bit sweet. I have no idea what temp it will go down to before it gets useless.

One trick I've picked up that might come in handy if you don't care for the tough stems - using your thumb and a bent forefinger, you gently grasp the leaf at the base where it widens out from the stem and strip off the tender green part, leaving the tough middle stem there on the plant - if it breaks off, its tender anyway.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 11:40PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Are those rubber blowout plugs a hazard, do they fail and blow out under normal use?

No. That is the over-pressure safety plug. It is a safety device. If it ever blows it is because of poor care of the canner or improper use of the canner. Thousands of us who have been pressure canning for many decades have never had a plug blow.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 8:39AM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

David, OT, but our dogs love to help me out by eating my surplus kale stems - well pretty much any surplus veggie matter. (Yes, I know not to feed them onion etc.) Crazy dogs. My MIL was amused when they ate satsumas (mandarin oranges) the other day at her house.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 2:19PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

happyday, I sautee the kale before freezing it, so it is cooked and reduces its volume. Also, I shred it pretty fine before sauteing. Works fine for kale potato soup, colcannon, frittatas, and so on, maybe not so good for salads.

It also work great as a filling for kale empanadas. They are a bit of work to make, we used to make 10 dozens at a time. They are a great convenience food once they are made, but I think the kimchi (or sauerkraut) is a lot healthier.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 4:41PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Cabrita, how do you shred it? Do you use a food processor or a knife? Last time I rolled it up in a bundle and cut strips with scissors, it went faster.

David thanks for the idea about stripping off the stem, I'll try that.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 8:01PM
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simplicitygardens(z8 pacific N.W.)

One of the outstanding features of kale is its ability to linger in the garden.

It is even better after a frost and we have eaten it after snowfall (which isn't often in our zone) clear through till spring. I always make sure we don't harvest all of it so that we have the 'insurance' of some greens down there in the kitchen garden.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 12:20AM
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Martalan

You do have no experience in growing kale kraut.Lucky you got many help.Otherwise your plant must be dead with your care.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:23AM
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