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What do you know about making sauerkraut?

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What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 9/9/2011, 11:51 am

We have both red and white cabbages, and want to make 'kraut. Any helpful hints for success? thanks, Nonna

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 9/9/2011, 6:03 pm

I have never done it. But for lots of things I've never done, I look for an Alton Brown episode because he often explains the science behind what you are doing. For sauerkraut, I found...

His recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/sauerkraut-recipe/index.html

A video of him making it (starts around 4:18 or so)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKbDgpANWLQ

Not sure if that helps at all...and I'm sure there are those on the forum who will be able to chime in with their own experiences, but thought this would give a place to start in the meantime... Smile
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  camprn on 9/9/2011, 8:42 pm

It's been years since I was involved in making it and all I remember was salt and shredded cabbage in the crock, a plate and a big rock and there were arguments about who's turn it was to skim... but it was tasty at the end. Very Happy

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  Denese on 9/9/2011, 10:05 pm

This is from the Alaska Cooperative Extension Office. She's very informative, albeit a little dry. When I make my sauerkraut later in the fall, I plan to follow her method.

http://youtu.be/-WfPigCqKnI
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Making kraut

Post  Nate on 9/10/2011, 12:02 pm

I've made quite a bit of sauerkraut (and other fermented foods). The main thing is to keep everything clean (but not wash the inner parts of the cabbage with chlorinated water - this will kill the bacteria you need to get it going.). It is also helpful to make the kraut in an airtight jar with an airlock. It will taste better and you won't get scum on top of the ferment.

"Basic" sauerkraut with cabbage and salt is good, but you can make quite a few varieties like adding an onion, garlic, juniper berries, and caraway seeds to the basic recipe. You can also add an apple to the basic recipe which is pretty good. Sandor Katz's book "Wild Fermentation" is a good resource for sauerkraut and other fermented foods.

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  cachecrashers4 on 9/10/2011, 3:29 pm

Weird! We just got back from having lunch at Morse's Sauerkraut.

www.morsessauerkraut.com Shocked
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 9/10/2011, 3:56 pm

Thanks to all, and especially to Nate....I shall be looking for "Wild Fermentation" at Powell's Books when we're in Portland on Thursday--it looks like something i need amongst my other cooking/canning books. Sigh, wish we weren't a whole continent away from Morse's, sounds delish! Nonna

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  lyndeeloo on 9/25/2013, 7:49 pm

This is the Fourth day in my first attempt at making sauerkraut. It looks great, it's doing what it is supposed to be doing and the kitchen smells wretched. tongue Shocked pale I am learning to live with it but the other member of the household is not very happy with my experiment and is threatening to toss it in the street. Tonight I'm oven roasting a bunch of veggies for dinner and the house smells fabulous! I'll just have to keep cooking wonderful things to mask the fermenting cabbage odor!
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Making Sauerkraut

Post  SFGHealthCoach on 9/25/2013, 8:30 pm

I want to learn more - it is sooooo good for us - !!!
My favorite resource as a health coach is another health coach sauerkraut officianado  who rocks the gut health and fermentation world in kitchen simple ways - she's located in Olympia, WA - Summer Bock at Olykraut.  She has great info on her website and a very cool distance kraut course that I want to take!!!!
Olykraut
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 9/25/2013, 10:28 pm

lyndeeloo, Take heart, the somewhat funky smell goes away as the sourness develops.  You will be amazed when you taste it 7-10 days after starting your crock, and how crisp and delicious it is.  Our daughter was visited last week and stated she could not stand sauerkraut.  I asked if she'd ever had naturally fermented kraut.  When she said, no, I ladled up a small dish of our homemade kraut.  She was so surprised, and even ate all she'd been served.  We'll be sending some down to her with some nice bratwurst sausages and can't wait to see what she and son-in-law think of a brat sandwich topped with crisp kraut.    Nonna

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  Pollinator on 9/25/2013, 10:50 pm

It doesn't all have to be cabbage - though I always use at least 50% cabbage to get the right bacteria.

Otherwise I put in cucumbers, summer squash, radishes, onions, turnips, kale, cauliflower, even apple slices. They all are delicious when done.

I don't trust old fashioned crocks - too many of them had lead in them, and the sourness of the kraut will leach it out. I use food grade plastic or glass.

When I was a kid, we used cabbage or grape leaves to try to keep out air and dust. They had to be replaced frequently. 

What I really like is widemouth gallon glass jars. To keep the air out, I fill a plastic bag with water and tie it off, then place it in the neck of the jar. This also cuts down on the odor while the brew is working.
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  lyndeeloo on 9/28/2013, 9:23 am


Day 7 and the smell is much less noticeable. Thank you for your assurances Nonna. I did taste a tiny piece this morning and it seems a little tangy, though mostly salty. I'm sure it needs a lot more time to ferment. I can't wait for it to be ready to eat.

I didn't want to make a big investment in something I was not sure I'd do again, but I found the 2 gallon jar at Walmart for $9.97 (Heritage Hill Jar by Anchor Hocking, made in USA) Bought 2 in case I had more cabbage than would fit in one. I was surprised at how 10 lbs. of cabbage mashed down to only half a jar. I've put cheesecloth over the top of the cabbage and then a plate topped with a sterilized pint mason jar filled with stones and water for more weight. This seems to be working out really well. I definitely will try making sauerkraut again.

SFG Health Coach Thank you for the website info!

I would like to try making another batch soon with some other veggies in it. I've heard about using beets. I love beets. Pollinator have you every used cabbage, beets and apples together? That sounds like a yummy combination to me. Would love additional input on this topic!
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saurkraut

Post  2SooCrew on 9/28/2013, 4:35 pm

I made kraut this year - made the terrible mistake of adding more salt..... bad idea, as it was really really salty..... I had to rinse it off before using it.

Lynda
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/28/2014, 8:37 pm

I just unveiled my first crock of homemade sauerkraut after 6 weeks of fermenting. It's delicious! Lookout Reubens, here we come!
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  sanderson on 7/28/2014, 9:19 pm

Thanks for bumping this Topic and showing your final product. Yummy!  Very Happy 
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  Pollinator on 7/31/2014, 12:09 am

I don't trust the old crocks (lead in them which is leached out by acid food), so I use wide mouth quart or gallon jars.

To seal them from the air (and spoilage on the top) I use a plastic bag full of water in the neck. It will let fermentation gasses by, but won't allow air back in.
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  camprn on 7/31/2014, 10:09 am

@Pollinator wrote:I don't trust the old crocks (lead in them which is leached out by acid food), so I use wide mouth quart or gallon jars.

To seal them from the air (and spoilage on the top) I use a plastic bag full of water in the neck. It will let fermentation gasses by, but won't allow air back in.


The two tone American old time stoneware crock typically use an Albany slip, made from a different form of clay than the pot body and is coated with a salt glaze, which requires high firing temperatures. If the crock is stoneware the glaze is most likely not lead component because it is a high fire clay with salt glaze.  It there is no glaze on the bottom of the pot (so it doesn't stick to the kiln shelf) and if it is a dense vessel, it is stoneware and in all probability lead free.
The low fire clay (earthenware) is more often seen with a lead glaze. These pots may have glazes on the bottoms.

http://core.ecu.edu/art/duffym/3980-6917/stoneware.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Stoneware

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceramic_glaze

I use American stoneware crocks in food preperation with confidence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Stoneware

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Are Stoneware Mugs Safe to Use?
Dishware is a household necessity, but it can also be a thing of beauty. Shiny, colorful plates, bowls, and cups make a meal more appetizing and enjoyable and add to the decorating style of one’s kitchen or dining room. Although tableware is made from many different materials, including plastic and wood, ceramic dishes are among the most popular choices. Whether one’s preferred potion is coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, a sturdy, heat-resistant mug is a must. Although some people prefer porcelain cups, stoneware mugs are better for everyday use and generally hold more liquid. Stoneware, like porcelain, is a type of pottery, although both types have distinctly different qualities. Some people may have care and safety concerns about stoneware dishes, particularly drinking mugs. Others many not even realize that they should have concerns about stoneware.

In order to better understand what the potential hazards of stoneware mugs are, one should have a basic knowledge of pottery and stoneware in general. Then, one can learn about the specific hazards inherent to stoneware mugs and know how to protect oneself.

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Pottery is one of the oldest crafts known to man. Evidence shows that fired clay items existed 18,000 years ago. When archaeologists dig a site, one of the most common findings is pottery shards; this is because of pottery’s inherent durability. These shards can often be used to identify cultures, particularly by comparing the glazing designs. While pottery is difficult to carbon-date unless it contains soot or remnants of food, newer methods of dating are being developed. This means that pottery may become more useful for pinpointing dates for the civilization in which it was produced.

All pottery is made by forming clay into shapes and then baking or firing it at a high temperature. During this heating process, the clay undergoes a chemical reaction and vitrifies, meaning it becomes hard and glasslike. There are three basic categories of pottery: porcelain, stoneware, and earthenware. The following chart gives brief descriptions of these three groups.

Pottery Type
Characteristics
Porcelain

Delicate-looking yet strong, translucent, naturally white

Stoneware

Has a typical "pottery" look, nonporous, opaque, naturally light to dark gray or brown, glazed for decoration

Earthenware

Cannot withstand drastic temperature changes, porous, easily chipped, glaze required for watertight quality, varies in color from white to red to black

Most pottery is glazed for decorative purposes. Earthenware that is used for dishware must be glazed to seal it since it is porous. Porcelain and stoneware do not have to be glazed but usually are, even if it is just hand-painted embellishments or accents.

The differences among these types of pottery lie in the clays used to create them. Each clay has a different proportion of certain minerals. Porcelain has a high ratio of kaolin, or white China clay, which is quite refined. Earthenware is generally made of common clay found in the ground. Each of these three types of pottery has distinctive subtypes as well.

More About Stoneware
Stoneware clay is sandy and gritty. Stoneware is more durable than earthenware. It is also less expensive and more rugged-looking than porcelain, which makes it an ideal choice for casual dishware. Some specific examples of stoneware are

   American stoneware
   Böttger ware
   Cane ware
   Crouch ware
   Feldspar stoneware
   Flint stoneware
   Quartz stoneware
These types refer to the mineral concentrations in the clay, which may affect the stoneware’s color, texture, and strength, or the decorating techniques.

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There are a few main things to watch out for when using stoneware for eating and drinking, and most of these points relate to the chemicals used in the glazes.

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One of the primary concerns with potted dishware is lead contamination. However, a lesser-known toxin in pottery is cadmium. Many of the decorative glazes used in pottery contain lead and cadmium, particularly warm hues (red, orange, and yellow). While U.S. health officials (and stoneware makers) are aware of the dangers of these elements, regulations in other countries (especially China) are not so strict. Moreover, individual handcrafters are not always aware of safety practices when it comes to glazing. Consumers must be particularly careful when buying imported ceramics as well as independently crafted folk art and older domestic ceramic pieces. Strangely, the more lovely and decorative the piece, the higher the likelihood that the glaze contains lead or cadmium. It is best to leave the ornate stoneware for display use to be on the safe side.

If a mug does or might contain lead, acidic beverages are most likely to cause lead to leach out. Most common beverages are acidic, including coffee, tea, milk, fruit juice, soda, and even carbonated water, although these fall at different spots on the acidity scale. Individual consumers can purchase special test kits for dishware if they have concerns about the presence of lead in their stoneware.'

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/31/2014, 11:58 am

Well now, this is a fine can of worms. Great info, Camp. Even though I use glass for everything else I never thought about my cheapo depot 2 yr old crock pot from Bennys. Shocked  I'll check it's origin when I get home tonight.  Meanwhile, the kraut is in canning jars now and in the future that's where it will be made.

Thanks for the heads up!

CC
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  llama momma on 7/31/2014, 12:29 pm

Very good Camp.  Interesting and concerning, but knowledge is power.
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  sanderson on 7/31/2014, 1:01 pm

CC,  The crock pot can be tested for lead.  Likewise, you can submit a jar of your kraut to your local laboratory that is approved for lead-in-food testing.

Camp, just noticed your post above.  Nice.


Last edited by sanderson on 7/31/2014, 1:19 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add)
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  CitizenKate on 7/9/2017, 5:48 pm

I was asked to bump this topic, since I just started playing with fermentation.  I'm just now learning about it myself, so I'm not sure what I'm sharing is going to be all the right information.  That said, I finally got my cabbages to grow to a decent size this year, but then - surprise - I quickly realized there was going to be more than we could eat fresh.  So I've been exploring ways to put up cabbage for a longer shelf life, and one obvious option is to make sauerkraut.

I've been reading about the crocks... there seems to be a consensus that a crock produces the best results in terms of flavor.  I also found numerous articles that mentioned the advantages of a an airlock lid - namely that they (usually) eliminate the need to deal with the slimy stuff that forms on the surface of the brine.  I was interested in that, as well.  I tried to find such a crock locally, but nobody here sells them.  I wasn't thrilled about the price tags on most of the ones I saw, either, so I looked around to see if there was anything I could use that was locally available.

While googling this, I saw lots of glass jar designs with airlock lids, and finally came across a YouTube video on how to make these:


This is just a basic quart sized wide mouth mason jar, with a plastic lid that's been fitted with an airlock that is used for home brewing.  The home brewing airlock does pretty much the same thing as an airlock lid on the lidded fermenting crocks.  It allows the gasses to escape from the jar, but doesn't allow air into the jar.

Fortunately, I live in a college town and home brewing is very popular here, so we happen to have a brewing supply store.  They sell the bulkhead stoppers ("bungs") and the air locks for $1.98 each.  So with the jars, the lids, the 4oz. jars (used to keep the food submerged in the brine), the bungs, and the air locks, the fermenting jars cost only about $5-6 apiece.

After packing the two jars, I've got them sitting on a shelf in my (nice dark) pantry... now we just wait...
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  RoOsTeR on 7/9/2017, 6:44 pm

@CitizenKate, I am a 'ferment' fan! Somewhere on here I've got jars set up in a similar fashion. I brew my own beer  so I already have/had the items. The jars with airlocks work great! Cabbage and radish (diakon being best imo) are my favorites to ferment. I know it's probably mind over matter, but I love red cabbage kraut! I'm sure it's just a color thing, but the juice just seems thicker and yummier Laughing
With experience you will probably ditch the airlock lid altogether like I do most times, and simply use a large outer cabbage or even a grape leaf to hold down the contents and make sure they're covered. I put my jars wherever suits me. Kitchen counter, basement, etc.
I have a large crock, but never use it. I think it was $40-$50 at Ace/TrueValue. I prefer the jars.
Happy Fermenting

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  CitizenKate on 7/9/2017, 8:10 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:@CitizenKate, I am a 'ferment' fan! Somewhere on here I've got jars set up in a similar fashion. I brew my own beer  so I already have/had the items. The jars with airlocks work great! Cabbage and radish (diakon being best imo) are my favorites to ferment. I know it's probably mind over matter, but I love red cabbage kraut! I'm sure it's just a color thing, but the juice just seems thicker and yummier  Laughing
With experience you will probably ditch the airlock lid altogether like I do most times, and simply use a large outer cabbage or even a grape leaf to hold down the contents and make sure they're covered. I put my jars wherever suits me. Kitchen counter, basement, etc.
I have a large crock, but never use it. I think it was $40-$50 at Ace/TrueValue. I prefer the jars.
Happy Fermenting

I'm glad to hear this setup worked for you. It certainly seems promising so far. I like the convenient "small batch" size, I like the glass (so I can see what's going on inside the jars), and low price tag. If the flavor of the kraut I get from these jars is the least bit decent, I probably won't ever have a reason to get a crock.

I've also got some red cabbages coming from the garden soon. I definitely plan to pack at least one jar of that to ferment. I love red cabbage, and always wondered how it would taste as kraut.

One thing I've decided to do differently with the next batch is to shred the cabbage in my food processor instead of chopping with a knife. This batch is turning out pretty chunky, and I sliced it as thin as I could. It will probably be fine taste-wise, but I prefer the finer texture of more finely shredded cabbage.
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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  sanderson on 7/10/2017, 4:42 am

Rooster, thanks for bumping this thread.

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

Post  CitizenKate on 7/11/2017, 12:16 am

Can anyone tell me whether this froth I see in the two fermenting jars is normal?  I don't think I saw this in the first batch I did the other night, but I didn't chop them as finely as I did these tonight.  With the ones I did Saturday, the cabbage was chopped with a knife.  With the ones I did this evening, the cabbage was put in the food processor.

I tried pressing out the bubbles as much as possible, but as you can see, it was pretty difficult to get them all out.  Is this going to be a problem?





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CitizenKate

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Re: What do you know about making sauerkraut?

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