Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sauerkraut Bottling

After 4 weeks getting nice and sour I decided to call my first attempt at sauerkraut ready to eat. After washing my hands and 2 mason jars I crammed the cabbage into the jars and topped them off with the “kraut juice” pushing down on it to get as much air out as possible. My two heads of cabbage ended up filling up the two jars perfectly. The sauerkraut is nice nicely acidic and salty, but still has a great crunchy texture that I think is much better than the soggy texture that commercial sauerkraut normally has.

I don't normally eat straight sauerkraut so it's hard to judge exactly how good my homemade version is until I get some bratwurst or make a Ruben or some brisket with sauerkraut and prunes (mmm mmm heritage).

So far I think the most important lesson I have learned is to slice the cabbage thinner, I have some pretty big chunks in there. Next time I think I'll add some additional spices, I may even give Korean Kimchi a shot (sauerkraut with chilies, garlic and scallions).


Penny said...

Sounds good! I read in an Amish cook book to serve sauerkraut with a dollop of sour cream. It mellows out so nicely. Sounds weird but now I never eat it without.

veikko said...

I did sauerkraut for the second time (currently eating chili noodles spiced with sauerkraut) and it came out ok. For the first time, I was very worried about the hygiene and it came out perfect. This time I was much more relaxed with the hygiene, just to see if it really mattered at all. I didn't use iodophor or anything else at all, just washed all the equipment. Unsurprisingly, some small mold buds came on top but I just gently took them away and so far I'm alive after eating it :) It's still only three weeks, so it can still take some more fermentation. However, I feel this one came out more sour than the previous; except for the hygiene I'm not sure what was done differently.

My recipe was roughly taken from:

I added some garlic, carrots and radish, just for fun.

Scyrene said...

I did a kimchee last year, and it worked very well - although I didn't end up eating a lot of it, it was interesting to see there was little visible spoilage even after several months (it was in a sealed plastic box, not a jar). One question that concerns me, though, is how do you tell if it's still edible? Assuming no visible mould, the smell is already very pungent, so it might be hard to tell if it had become unpleasant. Any ideas?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I am no pickling expert, but as long as the salinity is at the right level, you don't see any mold, and it doesn't taste off, then time is the only thing you have to look at. I think a couple of months is as long as I would go before tossing it, but I bet you would be fine waiting longer than that.