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Sauerkraut

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Sauerkraut

Postby dutchmancreek » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:27 pm

Just spent the afternoon shredding cabbage and making sauerkraut. We filled a 12 gallon crock and an 8 gallon crock and had a few heads left over.

In a few weeks we'll have a lot of jars to can up.

I love home made sauerkraut...most store bought stuff is not fermented kraut, only pickled cabbage.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby zedzedtop » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:57 pm

I agree. I put lots of garlic, ginger, and cayenne in mine, so it tends to be more kimchi-ish. What strength brine do you use? I am experimenting with between 2 and 2.5%. I find a 2x3 makes a good muddler to get the juices out of the cabbage....
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby Rebel_Yell » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:09 pm

Whhoo yummy. I was lamenting to a coworker about how I wish my folks liked kraut as well as I do. I add diakon radish to my mixture when I am making kimchi. Pretty much the same mixture as ZZ's. I use a 2.5% salt concentration.

If you like hot sauce, ferment so ripe pepper puree with your favorite salt concentration. The sour adds a whole nother dimension in flavor.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby zedzedtop » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:55 pm

My bday present from the lady this year was an 8L fermentation crock handmade in Holland. Came reeking of stale cigarette smoke. Some percarbonate and a test ferment and it's as good as gone. Nothin fancy, just simple glazed clay.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby dutchmancreek » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:03 pm

The 12 gallon crock that I use is heavier than hell when full of fermenting kraut. I set it on a platform with casters so I can roll it. The 8 gallon crock is a little easier to handle. I know that you can make sauerkraut in a plastic bucket if you want, but I already have the crocks, a kraut cutter (big wood & metal with three blades...like a giant mandolin), a big wooden "stomper", etc... all pretty old. My father-in-law made kraut with this stuff for years and gave it to me years ago.

I only sliced a little bit off my thumb this afternoon...so I am happy.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby just sayin' » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:06 pm

Dutch
Does kraut take a special salt? My Grandmother's kraut was always great. I have my Mother-in-Law's kraut cutter but am still looking for a crock I can afford. Large ones usually go for big bucks at estate sales here in W(BG)V. It may end up being cheaper to buy a new one than an antique.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby zedzedtop » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:35 pm

The trick with lactic ferments imo is to gauge the total water content including any water you might add. This is so you can determine the amount of salt to add and have the salinity of the brine be even after everything has diffused to equilibrium. With cabbage, you pretty much don't need to add any water, as the cabbage leaks enough to make enough free brine. With cucumbers, you might have to make the brine 2x the desired final strength to account for the trapped water in the cukes. Made some GREAT pickles a few weeks ago. First time doing that. I noticed that the smaller ones performed better. Cut the blossom end off and added grape leaves for tannin. They've stayed remarkably crunchy.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby just sayin' » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:10 pm

Zed
Fascinating, do you mind sharing your recipe? Been buying Famous Dave's Spicy pickles at Costco when they have them, bread and butter with a little fire in the back ground, love 'em. Would love to know how to do those myself as well. Thanks much!
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby zedzedtop » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:04 pm

Don't really have a recipe. Last batch was 2.5% sea salt in water averaged over the water addition and the water contained in the cucumbers. I assumed the cukes were 100% water, and to get them all submerged, the volume of cukes (weight - same thing) was about the same as the brine I made. So the brine was 5% salt. For 8L, 4L 5% brine and 4kg cukes. Big ol wad o grape leaves, 5 flowering dill heads, a few Tbsp crushed mustard seed, some garlic, a few serrano peppers, and one or two other ingredients but my mind escapes me. Fermed for more than two weeks - guessing ave temp of the pot was 60degF. Quite sour in a good way. One thing I learned was that if you put all the spices in the bottom, the effect does not permeate the cukes evenly. Next time I will layer or stir/agitate. Oh, and 1/4 cup of vinegar just to drop the initial pH so the lactic acid bacteria get a chance to take over. Don't worry, even with this 1/4 cup, you can be assured that these qualify as lactic fermented pickles. You want to dig/cut out the blossom end as that part contains enzymes that soften the cucumbers/ Grape leaves also mitigate softening, due tot he tannins. Most of this is from reading - this is the only time I've made a (good) batch of pickles. Transfer to quart jars with the brine when they are how you like 'em - half sour, full sour, whatever. I've played around much more with kraut/kimchi.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby pintoshine » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:49 pm

I don't add water. It is cabbage and salt. Anything else is a bonus. Make sure to can it when it is at the acidity you like. Canning stops the fermentation.
I still have a couple of jars from 2 years ago. still perfect.
Distill safe. Make good cuts. Enjoy yourself. Give as much as you take. Have fun doing this incredibly hard work. Be a good example. It's your hobby.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby dutchmancreek » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:17 am

The cabbage and salt when tamped down releases water from the shreds and becomes brine. I don't have to add additional brine.

"Just Sayin"...Use ordinary Canning & Pickling salt from the grocery. Don't use any salt that is iodized.
You don't need a crock...a food safe plastic bucket will do. As I said, all my crocks were given to me, but if I didn't have them I would hesitate spending that much money.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby just sayin' » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:11 am

Zed, thanks. I have made brine pickles, but never lacto. Never heard of the grape leaves either. Thanks much

Dutch, I will have to give it a shot in a Tractor Supply bucket, I seem to have a few of those around for some reason, last ones I picked up now have a big food safe label on them. Good point on the money, I will continue to keep an eye out for an old crock...view it as an investment, thanks again.
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby dutchmancreek » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:23 am

"Just Sayin".....look close if you buy an old crock. A lot of them have hairline cracks (they're pretty fragile) and will leak. I have a 10 gallon crock that has an almost un-noticible crack but leaks....it's now just a decorator piece. Before you use one, fill it with water and let it set for a day.
(Designated as ne'er do well)

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Whiskey River take my mind


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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby just sayin' » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:20 am

Dutch, I have notice cracks in many I have seen. Good advise, thanks much .........JS
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Re: Sauerkraut

Postby Rebel_Yell » Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:10 pm

I use a wire bail lidded, old timey canning jar with the separate rubber gasket for making small batches like kimchi and soured hot sauce. Food grade buckets for kraut and pickles.

Cabbage is generally held to be about 93 percent water.
Your results may vary..
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