Monday, November 1, 2010

"they turned it in, they turned it out they turned into sauerkraut"

I am so excited to share this with you.  You all know that here on the hill we had a wonderful vegetable garden this year.  One of the things we planted was cabbage.  They were so beautiful and plentiful that we decided that we would do what any red blooded American girl would do.   Make sauerkraut. 
It sounded so daunting, I wasn't to sure we would be able to pull this one off.  After all not everything we try does.  We planted tobacco this year because I told the kids 
 I would show them all how to roll cigars. Ha!!! Like I even have a clue.  I just want to say though  I would have figured it out.  Unfortunately the slugs ate my nice tobacco.  I like slug bait now.

So the first thing to do is get yourself a crock.  We read recipe books googled recipes talked to everyone about it.  And finally decided to just go for it.
Our harvest of cabbage was about 10 heads total in various sizes.  It wasn't going to be enough so I went to my favorite vegetable stand in the whole world.  Carpinito Brothers in Kent, Washington.  It is about 3 blocks from my work.
They had amazing cabbages.  So fabulous I went crazy and bought 8 very large heads.  It was 19 cents a pound so I bought 43 pounds.  Keep in mind how much you buy because that is how you figure out how much salt to add.  Note that you use non iodized salt.  I had a box of canning and pickling salt.  So far I have spent out of pocket $8.29.  A very inexpensive form of entertainment.
 My grand daughter Sarah happened to drop in and we put her to work, she was in charge of the salting process.  Because as you shred your cabbage you will want to add the salt.  When you have completed shredding and salting the cabbage you get in there with your hands and mix vigorously until the salt and cabbage start to get wet.  It doesn't take long.
After that cover the cabbage with cheesecloth a plate and a large clean rock or brick in a plastic bag.  We covered the crock with Seal and Wrap it worked like a charm.  
We kept the crock in the dining room.  It was perfect.  Every three or four days we checked the process. It bubbles, and they say to watch for scum on top of the brine and skim it off.  We didn't have any of that.  Making sure the cabbage was keeping its' color and was submerged in the brine (it makes its own).
It took about 10 days before it was ready.  We just tasted it every so often.  It just kept getting better and better.
On Saturday last we decided it was time to can the sauerkraut, and share some and cook with some of it too.  The only real way to preserve sauerkraut is by canning.  Freezing ruins the taste and plastic is not stable enough to maintain the quality.
Ok then lets can it.
This is the beautiful finished product. Keep looking it is easier than you think.

Fill the jars to just below the jar shoulders (where the jar narrows).
Dar was the kraut putter in the jar girl.  When she was about halfway through I suggested we make another batch.  You see Aunt Evelyn told me about her mother in law putting whole heads of cabbage in the crock and then when it was cured to use it for cabbage rolls.  Wouldn't that be so marvelous?  Well she didn't respond to that and by the time we had 20 jars and 4 quarts to give a way I recovered.  She was pretty happy.  5 gallons of sauerkraut is enough for any body I am thinking.  When you get the jars filled.  Make sure you have enough brine to cover the kraut bring it up to 1/2 below the top of the jar.

Put the hot seals and rings on and tighten.  You will want to process the kraut for 20 minutes in a hot water bath.

Put these hot jars on a bath towel on the dining room table, cover with another towel and listen for them to pop as they seal.  You will want to leave them there all day and maybe the next too.  So you can show everyone what you have been up to.
On Sunday we made dinner using some of our fresh kraut.  I used a pork shoulder roast,

broiled in the oven first to brown.  Then place a thick sliced onion on top and an apple sliced on top of the onion.  Cover the roast and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.  Take it out of the oven and take a little picture. Next we add lots of fresh sauerkraut.

You want to really pack this on tightly and put some around the roast in the drippings.  Now back into the oven until it reaches 165 internal temperature.  While you are fooling around waiting you could add some little red potatoes to the oven.  I did.

Just olive oil, black pepper and sea salt, cover and right into the oven.
The house smells so wonderful, too bad we couldn't bottle that and sell it.
When the roast comes to temp.  The potatoes should be done too.

Yum,  fabulousness in the kitchen.  Did I mention the disco ball in the kitchen was spinning all day. The ambiance was over the top I must say.

Love it so.  Plate your dinner and enjoy

And that my dear is the "perfect bite".

Cheers to Happy  !!


  1. Well now that was just a really fun blog. That saurkraut looks beautiful, and especially the way you did it with your roast. Good job, you gals!!!

  2. My sister and her daughter made a few crocks of kraut about 8 years ago. This reminded me of her tale.

  3. This looks like it was the best dinner. I couldn't make it over because of the storm. I looked out the window and saw mud puddles in your driveway..... Sorry I missed this one. I know where you live (next door), and will be ransacking your canning cellar soon. Love you both, and keep us the good work.