Second Batch of Sauerkraut

Yep, when I start something, I jump in with both feet, don’t I? If you google “How to make sauerkraut”, you’re going to get a million, or more, sets of directions. Some use an air lock system and some use more of an open air type fermentation system. Everything Vince has read suggests the air lock system and I think he is sold on that method because he’s a beer brewer/wine maker and he believes in the air lock system. I’m on the open vat side because I think that’s how most of our grandmothers made sauerkraut or other fermented foods. I was happy this morning to read this blog post. If you’re interested in making sauerkraut, it’s a great article and talks about both the air lock and open vat methods. I read it to mean that the open vat method is best; Vince would interpret it to mean the air lock method is vest. He’s ordered a bunch of supplies to use the air lock system and I’ll keep using the open vat and we’ll both be happy (because we all know he’s only going to order the stuff and never use any of it!).

There truly were so many ways to make sauerkraut and I wanted to try something else. I started with 4 heads of cabbage for the sauerkraut I put in the crock. I wish I had used 8 heads but I only had 4 and I thought that would have been enough but now I know it wasn’t. By the way, the crock has a water lock around the lid and this morning I heard a funny noise and turned to see that the cabbage had burped and a big old bubble came up through the water. That was pretty neat. I can’t open it for 13 days. I’ll never make it!

This morning we went to town and I got 4 more heads of cabbage and shredded it. I’m so happy I got this shredder.

Cabbage Shredder

Cabbage Shredder

It’s so quick and easy to use with almost no chance of scraped knuckles. The cabbage fits inside the little white “box” and I slide the box back and forth across the blades.

Shredded Cabbage

Shredded Cabbage

It only takes a minute or two to shred a head of cabbage. It took me longer to scrub the sink before shredding the cabbage into it!

Making Kraut

Making Kraut

The pickle jar on the left is just plain cabbage. The half gallon and quart jar have caraway seeds mixed in. On all of these, I used a couple of outer leaves of the cabbage to place on top before adding the weight. The weights are jelly jars filled with water.

Kraut

Kraut

The jar on the left has a kitchen towel for a lid, the jar in the middle has paper towels and the jar on the right has a plastic lid that isn’t screwed on tight.

Fermenting Cabbage in the Cooler

Fermenting Cabbage in the Cooler

The best temperature for fermenting the sauerkraut is 65º to 72º, and because our highs are still in the upper 80’s, and the thermostat in the house mostly stays at 73º or 74º, I decided to stick these jars in a cooler in the extra bedroom and add a bottle of ice. I freeze water in used Gatorade bottles and I can swap out the thawed ice bottle for a fresh one once or twice a day and the temp inside the cooler has been staying between 68º and 70º.

With the ice bottles, there’s no melting ice and no water to have to dump so that makes it pretty easy and hopefully, it will work. The crock is sitting in the kitchen at room temp so we’ll see if there’s a difference in the kraut that was kept cooler.

Now we’ll have a couple of batches for comparison . . in 2 to 4 weeks.

 

First Batch of Sauerkraut

This is something I should have done when we had a basement that stayed cooler. I’m hoping this will work with it being in the house and staying around 72º.

I have two really big crocks that don’t have lids and I bought those when I lived in MO and planned to make sauerkraut but never got around to it. For here, I decided to get a different crock – one that has a lid. I went with the TSM 10 Liter Fermentation Pot.

Fermentation Pot

Fermentation Pot

There were several ways I could have cut the cabbage – by hand, using a mandolin, using a food processor/grater but when I thought of chopping 4 to 6 heads of cabbage, I decided to get this cabbage slicer. I’m so glad I did . . it made the job so easy and didn’t take much time at all. I started with 4 heads of cabbage but wish I had bought 5 or 6 heads. I think I could have used at least 5 heads.

Cabbage

Cabbage

You can see the liquid in with the cabbage. That’s just the liquid out of the cabbage. I massaged and mashed til there was enough liquid to cover the weights.

Cabbage

Cabbage

Then it was time to put the lid on, seal it and wait . . for 2 weeks . . no peaking, no removing the lid. Can I do it? 

I’m so anxious to see if it works, how it tastes and how much sauerkraut we end up with.

Figs

We love figs and when I say LOVE . . I mean . . I think we both sneak out to the fig trees and pick them and eat them when the other isn’t looking. As you might guess, since one of us works away from home and one of us stays home, there might be one of us getting a whole lot more sneaking time than the other one of us!  :)

This year, for the first time, we’re finally getting enough figs that we both can eat all we want and we’re having a few left over. Yesterday after we both had our fill of figs, these were left over so I stuck them in the fridge.

Figs

Figs

We’re getting about 2 quarts per day now and should continue to get that many til the first freeze.

I halved some of the leftover figs and put them in a salad to have with our dinner tonight.

Figs in Salad

Figs in Salad

The salad had toasted pecans, cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, figs and mixed greens. That was a great use of the extra figs. I think I’ll do it again!