Since I started blogging, several people have assumed I can do ALL things homesteading, which is far from the truth. The truth is, there are simple tasks that others seem to master more quickly and there are things that just don’t seem to be in my wheelhouse. Part of the homesteading adventure for me has been to figure out what things I can accomplish and things I should just walk away from. A few things that I do not enjoy or show the artistic ability to complete: crocheting, sewing, painting, and the list could go on. My Grandmother was excellent at crocheting and I still have some of her wonderful afghans and needle work. The homestead house is full of my Mom’s oil painting of flowers, birds, and trees. While these paintings and afghans are considered treasures, it is not something that I have been able to complete, maybe that is why I treasure them so. I do consider myself a good cook but there are things in the culinary homesteading world that I have not mastered, yet either. One of the things is homemade sauerkraut. I have fond memories from my childhood of my Mom’s homemade kraut. Memories of her pulling out a very large stone crock, in which she made large amounts of sauerkraut. My taste buds remember the cool crisp sour cabbage of my mom’s kraut. Hoping to replicate her success, I grew lots of cabbage here on the homestead. I watched youtube videos, read blogs and gave it a try. First there was an attempt at simple canned kraut. Sadly, my canned kraut turned out mushy and under-salted. Mushy kraut is not good. After discovering my favorite store-bought kraut went up to seven dollars for a pint, I was more determined than ever to conquer the kraut. I googled and tried a fermented old-fashioned kraut recipe, which resulted in a moldy, over salted, mushy mess. My guess is that I let it get too hot and didn’t submerge the kraut well enough, not to mention I am pretty sure I accidentally doubled the salt. Sometimes, it gets a little crazy in my kitchen. While looking on Amazon for possible homestead kitchen items, I stumbled across this fermenting kit. So I ordered it and gave it a try.
I Found a kraut recipe that I thought I would like, and simply made the kraut, placed it in the jar, attached the Easy Fermenting lid, and turned the dial to the number of days the kraut needed to ferment. Patience is a virtue, 14 days of counting down my sauerkraut experiment was difficult. At last, after a long two weeks I could taste my experiment, I was pleasantly surprised to taste the results! It took me back to hot July days on the farm eating cold kraut out of the fridge. So I have experimented with the fermentation lids, and have done two types of kraut as well as fermented jalapeno peppers. I had invested a total of $24 plus the cost of a head of cabbage. Something that homesteading has taught me is that there are risks involved in every experiment, but they don’t have to be too costly. With inflation and the current state of my household budget, my financial risks will need to be small.
Who knows what I will ferment next ?
In case you’d like to try making your own sauerkraut, here is my simple slightly spicy kraut recipe:
One head of cabbage (about 8 cups finely chopped)
Shredded carrots 2 cups
Diced red radish 1 cup
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt 2 teaspoons
You may need to add filtered water
2 wide mouth quart jars
Directions: Wash cabbage and take off any outer brown or loose leaves. Then chop or shred the cabbage, being careful to avoid the core and just get the leaves. You should get around 8 cups of cabbage from one average head of cabbage. Put the cabbage in a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of the sea salt, then blend the cabbage and salt. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes, because this will allow the cabbage to sweat and release needed moisture. Take something and pound the cabbage mixture to release even more moisture, you will need liquid to ferment. I usually use my Mom’s old potato masher for this part of the project. I mash for about five minutes, I tell myself it is a good bicep workout. After mashing add carrots and radish and blend them together with the cabbage mixture.
Briefly smash the blended kraut together, just to make sure it is ready for the jar. Then pound it into the jar leaving plenty of space at the top of the jar for the fermentation process. I can usually fill two jars ¾ way full with this recipe. Then divide the remaining liquid and pour it over the packed jars. Make sure you don’t have any stray pieces of cabbage that are not covered by liquid. It does not have to appear like soup but it needs to look moist. Place your handy fermentation lids on and set days to number 14, I usually count down but you could count up (you pick).
I use tinted dark yellow mason jars that I bought on clearance. The pantry is a good place to store them while they ferment because it is cool and dark. When I did my kraut, I did not open the jars until day 14, so I did not need the pump which is included in the package. I have made several batches and not used a weight, but other people reviewing the product recommend adding a weight, reporting it kept all the kraut in the liquid for fermentation. I found that my cabbage mixture produced enough liquid that it was plenty moist enough to fully ferment all the cabbage.
If you have not tried kraut before, give it a try. I find it yummy and it has natural probiotics which are great for your digestive system. This simple recipe for sauerkraut has also made a great quick and healthy addition to summer midweek family meals. Sauerkraut goes lovely with some slow cooked ribs or even smoked sausage, it is an easy way to add a healthy family side. We have also enjoyed adding fermented peppers on burgers, brauts, or the juice poured in homemade pimento cheese.
Link to order fermenting lids: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DJVVORE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1
What have you not conquered yet?
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