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Sauerkraut: The Science Of (A Call To Arms)

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  • MBMorgan
    I have to admit that I've never considered fermenting my own sauerkraut ... although, thanks to this thread, my mind could be a-changin'. Instead, I've got a well used recipe for doctoring up "good" store-bought 'kraut to better suit my taste for such things:

    o 4 slices bacon, diced
    o 2 yellow onions
    o 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    o 2 apples, peeled, cored, & sliced thin
    o 1 quart jar sauerkraut (good stuff … not canned)
    o 1 1/2 cups white wine
    o 10 juniper berries
    o 6 black peppercorns (or 12 green)
    o 2 bay leaves
    o 1 Tbsp brown sugar

    o Heat 6-8 quart pot (not iron or aluminum)
    o Sauté bacon until clear
    o Add onion and garlic; brown lightly
    o Add apples, sauerkraut, and wine
    o Add juniper berries, bay leaves, peppercorns, and brown sugar; stir
    o Cook for 2 hours on medium-low heat; just simmering

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  • LangInGibsonia
    Great thread here. I too am a huge fan of home fermenting. Along with sauerkraut, I've also done dill cucumbers, beets and kimchi. I have a three gallon croc so my batches tend to be more than we eat in a month or two so I can them for preservation. I do everything basically the same way Cheef has described so I don't have much to add other than, if you've ever considered home fermenting, try it. It's fun, the product is superior to any store bought product, and unlike store bought you know exactly what you and your family are eating. Happy fermenting!

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  • Dr ROK
    commented on 's reply
    Cheef, What size crock are you using for this recipe?
    Last edited by Dr ROK; February 24, 2016, 06:25 PM.

  • Cheef
    Thought I would drop back into this thread with my new way to make kraut.
    I am on my fourth batch now and this has me sold over the old crock method. I am getting REALLY tasty ferments in 2 to 3 weeks.
    I believe it is so much faster and easier because there is no air gap to slow down the ferment.
    5 pounds shredded cabbage
    3 tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt. (different salts give different tastes.) DO NOT used iodized or treated salts--natural salt!!!
    pound to combine well.
    let set on counter top to release juice
    Pack VERY firmly into container and place the inner seal on top until the juice flows out of the weep hole--plug it and wait 2 weeks in a corner at anywhere from 65 to 75 degrees to begin taste testing.
    SOOO simple!! Every batch so far has been consistent and GOOD!!!
    Here is a link to the new fangled ''crock'' this thing beats my Harscht crocks hands down.
    CHEAP way to experiment.
    Last edited by Cheef; February 23, 2016, 02:05 PM.

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  • Cheef
    My wife makes a ''sweet/sour'' Saur Kraut in the oven.
    Add sugar, and bacon on top.
    I call it Crack Kraut because I can't stop eating it until it is gone.
    If anyone is interested I will post the recipe if she will give it to me.
    She's kind of stingy with her recipes.

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  • Cheef
    I've never heard of freezing it so not sure.
    I do know it will last 3 or 4 months in the fridge with no affect.
    On the pickle--be sure to trim the end off to get rid of the spot the cabbage was cut.
    It is interesting to me that different salts will result in different flavor.
    Always use a natural sea salt with no chemicals or iodine.
    Last batch I made was with a salt called Real Salt out of Utah.
    I really like the Real Salt for just everyday use also.
    The Kraut I made with Real Salt had almost a pinkish hue to it and resulted in an almost sweet taste to it. Sweet isn't the right description--but it is a nice taste.

    Leave a comment:

  • cdd315
    Cheef that's a good idea with the core .. I'll have to do that next time. I don't know if you read my post above but I like to freeze the kraut. Do you think the probiotics and other benefits will still be available by freezing?

    Leave a comment:

  • Cheef
    Just a thought.
    A lot of folks are hesitant to make kraut for the fear of food poisoning. I suppose there is a risk but In 5 years I have never had any kind of problem.
    Anyone who does decide to ferment should do their own research, and go with what makes them comfortable.
    There is a vast wealth of information on the internet concerning lacto fermentation, and a lot of it will bust the myths of the inherent dangers associated with it.
    One thing I am always cautious of is starting with clean equipment and clean hands. Lacto ferment is a little picky, so clean to me means sterilized with HOT water. Soap residue can affect the process.
    I always use spring water to avoid the chemicals in tap water.
    Best advice I could give is--go for it if YOU are comfortable--avoid it if you aren't.
    Seems to me in modern times we have kind of forgotten what got us here.
    We fear the old ways because we are a lot more knowledgeable to some of the dangers.
    Lacto ferment is pretty much safe but there is a risk to anything--hell anything processed and bought from a grocery store inherits a consumer risk.

    Leave a comment:

  • Craigar
    Cheef Thank you for sharing. I guess I will be going on a crock hunt this weekend.

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  • Cheef
    Hi cdd315.
    The 29 day mark is pretty much what I go for.
    Hard not to peek and sample but 4 weeks seems to be a good starting point to check.
    After 4 weeks it's a matter of taste, test and personal satisfaction. The salt taste gives way to the sour and eat when you like.
    I never can kraut because it doesn't last long enough around my house. Well cleaned jars and right into the refrigerator.
    People don't realize how healthy lacto fermented vegetables are. They are said to be higher in probiotics than good yoghurt.
    If you have a dog 1 teaspoon a day (a small forks worth) promotes gut health and they will beg you for it.
    I went on a quest and began making my own because I spent 50 years trying to find kraut like my German Aunt and Grandma made--I was never able to find anything that even came close. I remember helping Grandma and Aunt Mary can their kraut for storage in the root cellar. They would always add the cabbage cores to the middle of the crock and let them ferment along with the kraut. They called it the kraut pickle, and it was always a special treat for helping to can. Stick your cores in next time and you will be in for a treat when they ferment.
    Most processed kraut will contain vinegar, and is not even a relation to the lacto fermented kraut.
    The Harscht crock make everything easier and I suppose much more sterile with the water seal around the dome.
    I'm kind of anxious to see the results the Crazy Korean KimChee crock will give because it is so much more compact in size.
    One observation.
    Occasionally you will get a ''scum'' on top of a batch. If it is a white-floating powder you are OK. Just carefully clean it out with a sterile spoon. If it has tentacles that extend down into the juice be cautious and give that batch a toss. I've never encountered the tentacles but have seen a little powder once in a while.

    Leave a comment:

  • cdd315
    Cheef how do you know, or what do you look for to tell whether your kraut is ready? I always went by the 29 day mark as that's what my mother in law always did.

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  • Cheef
    Can't believe I found this thread on here.
    I just finished another batch 2 weeks ago.
    I have always used a Harsch Crock and have never had a bad batch in any season.
    I just bought a Crazy Korean Kimchee crock and have it loaded right now with its first batch.
    The Harsch Crocks are a little spendy but the Crazy Korean food grade plastic pots would let you experiment a little at a reasonable cost.
    Lacto Fermented Brussel Sprouts on a hot dog instead of the traditional saur kraut is a really nice combination.
    My own personal never fail recipe is.
    3 TBSP Coarse sea salt to 5 pound cabbage.
    1/3 of the cabbage-1/3 of the salt and mash together.Continue the same until it is all used. Room temp cabbage will let go of the juice faster.
    Pack firmly into a Harscht crock and cover with cabbage leaves to keep the floaters down.
    Add the stones and push down until they are covered in juice.
    Stick the lid on--add the water to the rim to make it air tight and set it in a cool corner. Check the water seal every few days to be sure it doesn't evaporate. It is kind of a good sign to walk by and hear the lid ''burp'' it means everything is working like it should.
    I've found that too much salt will ferment but it will ferment much slower than the 3 TBSP to 5 pounds.
    Kraut is temperamental sometimes for me.
    Some is done in 3 or 4 weeks--some takes an extra week or so.
    The whole brussel sprouts will ferment in as little as 3 weeks which is surprising.
    Last edited by Cheef; October 13, 2015, 08:07 PM.

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  • cdd315
    Wow, what timing! I just started a fresh batch last night! Here is my setup. I've only done large batches between 3 and 5 gallon in a crock.

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    I got this crock and mallot from my mother in law. I used to help her make sauerkrout when she still lived in her own home.
    I used 9 large heads of cabbage for this batch. I like to add onion and garlic and this time I put in 6 medium yellow onions and one head of garlic and a food processor was used to chop it all up. In total I put about 1 1/3 cup of pickling salt and mashed it all using that mallot. Although I don't know how much that mallot really works to making moisture .. I think the presence of the salt draws the moisture from the cabbage just as easily. It does work to mix it though.

    I'll leave it in the downstairs utility room. It'll stay at around 67 - 69 F for 29 days. I'll check on it every morning and skim any off color juice that form. Usually white and milky. Keep it covered with a towl to keep any bugs out of it. When it's ready I'll scoop out about 2 cups and put it into ZipLoc freezer bags and freeze them. I don't know if the probiotics survive the freezing or not but I'm not worried about that. I like to cook mine up and make German Chicken.

    Here are a few sites that may help you and this topic:


    Have fun!!

    Leave a comment:

  • Munch
    commented on 's reply
    If I remember correctly, over 110 or thereabouts. http://www.foodrenegade.com/3-bigges...lready-making/

  • Jon Solberg
    Absolutely Spin. Absolutely!

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