This is my first attempt at making homemade sauerkraut. You may ask (in your best Todd Crisley's southern accent), "Have you lost your mind"?
Well no, no I haven't. In all my 50 plus years, I've only had the kraut you buy in cans. And it's gross! Recently, though, I've changed my mind....not about canned kraut, but homemade sauerkraut.
While we were in Colorado this summer, there was a German vendor at the Farmers Market selling brats topped with sauerkraut. Cliff bought a brat and before he could say no, the lady topped it with sauerkraut. And, he ate it. I couldn't believe it.
Like me, he didn't like canned sauerkraut. As a matter of fact, one of the very few times we tried it, the pot ended up in the yard at the edge of the woods. Ha! I had opened a can and was heating it in a pot on the stove. Cliff came in and just about gagged at the smell. He took the whole pot outside and sat it at the edge of the woods and claimed the stuff smelled so bad the dog wouldn't even eat it.
So for him to eat the sauerkraut in Colorado, it had to be good. I've, also, heard that it's a gut healthy food with numerous benefits, as most fermented foods are. So, I was on a mission to make some for myself. I found the easiest recipe online and today, I made a batch.
First, I chopped the cabbage reserving two or three of the outer leaves. Once that was done, I layered the cabbage in a large jar sprinkling salt and dill weed throughout.
Once the jar was full, I used a wooden spoon to beat the cabbage down to begin releasing some liquid. It actually reduced the volume by about half.
Next, I laid the reserved cabbage leaves on top covering it completely. Then you have to lay something heavy on top of that to hold down the cabbage leaves and keep the cabbage submerged in the salty liquid. Oh wait, since there wasn't enough liquid released to cover the chopped cabbage, I made a brine of 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt and poured over the cabbage. It was just enough to nearly cover it.
Then on top of those reserved cabbage leaves I sat a quart Mason jar full of water. That should be heavy enough. Last step, I placed cheese cloth over the top and kept it in place with an elastic bracelet that I found lying around. Now, I just have to wait 2 or 3 weeks until the cabbage ferments. Gosh, I sure hope it works. My mouth is watering already.
The wait is on. If this recipe works and if the cabbages I planted this fall do well, I'll be making homemade sauerkraut all winter. I'll let you know how it turns out.