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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Regina wrote to me and asked how to make sauerkraut.  Since it is a bit complicated, I thought I'd write a post on it.  Now, I know most of you won't be interested in how to make it, but if you scroll down to the end of the post, I share a recipe for a delicious Alsatian-style pork roast that uses sauerkraut.  Perfect for Octoberfest!

Step 1:  Wash and scald a large crock or a large food safe plastic bucket.  Wash your cabbages and cut out the cores.  Remove the thick outer leaves.

Step 2:  Shred and salt the cabbage 5 pounds at a time.  You do not need to go to all the expense of buying a special kraut cutter.  Just use a very sharp knife and cut in very thin strips.  Use 3 1/2 tablespoons of canning salt per 5 pounds of cabbage.  Make certain the salt is evenly distributed or the cabbage may turn pink.  (This is caused by certain kinds of yeast.)  We use a large Ziploc  bag to mix the salt and cabbage together. 

Step 3:  Repeat the shredding and salting until the crock is filled to within  5 inches from the top.  Tamp the cabbage down firmly to extract the juice.  If there is not enough juice to cover the cabbage make a brine of 1 quart of water and 1 1/2  teaspoons of salt.  The brine should cover the cabbage.

Step 4:  Fit a clean scalded plate or lid that fits just inside the crock.  Weigh it down with a sterilized  quart jar that is filled with water.  The cabbage must be completely submerged in the brine.  Cover the crock with a clean towel and place in a dark place.The  best temperatures for fermenting is 70 degrees.  Warmer temperatures may cause the kraut to spoil.  Cold temperatures take longer.

Step 5:  In a few days you will see  bubbles starting to appear.  That means the cabbage is fermenting.  Check the kraut daily and remove the film as it appears.  Remove the lid and remove any film or mold on it.  Wash and scald it and place it back on the cabbage.

Step 6:  When the bubbling stops (usually in 2-4 weeks depending upon the temperature) tap the side of the crock.  If no bubbles appear, it means the fermenting has ended.

Step 7:  Now you can eat your sauerkraut or you can can it.  To can it, heat the sauerkraut but do not boil.  Pack into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 headspace.  Remove the air bubbles.  Process in a boiling water bath for  15 minutes for pints or 20 minutes for quarts.

Now you have the sauerkraut, here's a wonderful meal that's perfect for an October day:

Alsatian Pork Roast

In a large Dutch oven, brown 2 large onions, roughly chopped in a couple tablespoons of oil.  Sprinkle a pork loin roast with a spice mixture of 1 tsp. salt and  1 tsp. pepper, 2 tsp. sage, 1 tsp. rosemary,  1 tsp. thyme and 1 tsp. dry mustard.  Brown the roast in the oil.  Pour a pint of sauerkraut over top of the roast.  (If using store bought, use a good quality kraut, not the cheap stuff that you can buy in a can.) Combine 2 tbsp. each of  ketchup and brown sugar.  Stir into the sauerkraut.  Add clean whole potatoes (or cut up if the potatoes are large) as many as needed for your family and an equal amount of coarsely chopped carrots.  Cover the Dutch oven and simmer on top of the stove until the internal temperature of the roast  reaches 170 degrees.  About 30-35 minutes per pound.  The meat should be falling apart.   Check from time to time to make sure all the liquid hasn't boiled out and that the roast isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Add a bit of water if needed.

 Place the roast on a pretty platter and arrange the potatoes and carrots around it.  Serve the sauerkraut on the side.With the leftovers, you can chop up the roast and and add it to the sauerkraut,  adding  some Italian or Polish sausages to it stretches the leftovers for a few extra days.  Are you ready for October now?


  1. I love sauerkraut! How fun to make your own, I bet it tastes wonderful! Your Alsatian Pork Roast sounds amazing, I have written it down and will have to try it the next time I buy a Pork Roast, it does sound like the perfect fall meal!

  2. Very nice! I'll have to remember to add ketchup and brown sugar to the recipe for the pork roast. I love how the house smells when this is cooking....brings back childhood memories of my grandma's house. love,andrea

  3. Oh how nice, we eat sauerkraut every week! Sometimes with mashed potatoes bacon and pineapple. But more often with cashew nuts, mashed potatoes, and Dutch cheese. Pieces of apple and a little bit red wine. But ... without a large piece of Dutch sausage you belong not to eat sauerkraut. Usually we make in the midst of our sauerkrautstew a little hole (right word?) for for the special meat sauce with little onions.

    Great blog! I like it.

  4. This is something that has always fascinated me. I don't eat too much of this, but just the process is so interesting :)


    maria b.

  5. Hi April! Making sauerkraut is one of those things we do to bring us closer to our old family traditions. When I was a kid, everyone had a crock of it in their cellar. Everyone's house smelled like it in the fall!

    Hi Andrea! The ketchup and brown sugar make the broth a nice goldeny brown color. I'm talking myself into having a "meat" meal! This is one of our favorites.

    Sauerkraut with pineapple is a new idea to me Jedidja! Do you make your own? I forgot how good it was to add apples to, thanks for reminding me!

    Hi Maria! It is kind of an old-fashioned, little house on the prairie thing to do isn't it? My son and daughter-in-law started making it, so now the kraut making tradition is good for another generation. I recently read an article about sauerkraut and other fermented cabbage dishes such as Kim Chee. It says they are very good for your health, kind of like the probiotics that are so popular now days. Might be something to it as we are a very hale and hardy bunch!

  6. dear jane,
    thank you so much for the intruction!!!
    you are the best!!!!!!!
    i love sauerkraut and in the coming cold months,we
    eat sauerkraut every week with rostbratwurst(sausage)or pork and mashed potatoes.
    it's good for the health.
    have a lovely time,
    love regina

  7. You're welcome Regina! Mine is bubbling away right now. The whole house smells like it. Smells like an old farmhouse.

  8. I just purchased a crock for this purpose last month! I love your simple but thorough instructions. Thanks!

    Blessings, Debbie

  9. O jammie.

    I love Sauergraut and Bratwurst,

    greatings Conny

  10. I think I just about covered everything, Debbie, but if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

    Hello Conny! Who doesn't? LOL! By the way, I stopped over to your blog and I loved your tutorial on the flower pillows. I'm going to try and make some this fall.

  11. I love sauerkraut but hubby isn't crazy about it and the kiddos won't touch it. I've never made my own other than a refrigerator jar of it. Of course, I'd never find anywhere cool enough here at least not now since it was 83 degrees today.

  12. Yeah Shara, I guess sauerkraut is an acquired taste. Probably not the thing to make in the southern states. Funny how some things are regional. My husband's mother is from the south and he loves sweet iced tea, having spent his summers there growing up, which I find dreadful.

  13. Hi Jane! Thank you for this wonderful post, I always wondered how sauerkraut was made. I didn't know it was made in those special crocks. I have seen crocks like yours for sale, every time I go to our local antique barn. There are many people of German descent in our area. Now I'm able to put two and two together! :)

    I traveled to the Alsace area the year we lived in Switzerland. It was one of my favorite places. The little villages are nestled in this deep, verdant green valley. I had the opportunity to visit a castle when I was there,that stood up high on a hill. I climbed to the highest turret and looked out through a little window that was carved out of the stone. The view of Alsace was breathtaking, something that I will never forget. Farms, villages and grape vineyards rolled out as far as the eye could see, and there was a lovely blue cast or haze to the horizon very similar to the Blue Ridge mountains.

    The food and wine were so delicious. They were also famous for their pottery, and I bought a special piece made to cook roasts in. It is a mustard-gold color with little painted blue flowers. I'm so glad it didn't get broken on the way home! It came with a recipe very similar to the one you posted! My husband loves German food.

    I hope you have a lovely evening ahead! Delisa :)

  14. Hi Delisa! Oh crocks have many uses on a farm. WE store the winter vegetables down in the cellar in them too. Not to mention the fall bouquets look just right in the smaller ones! How lucky were you to have the opportunity to live in Switzerland?

  15. Dear Jane,

    Mmmm, sauerkraut! I love making it, too, and two crocks that belonged to my grandma when she made it back when. Of course, they are too cracked for me to dare use, but they hold a part of her spirit inside.



  16. Don't you love the old things that have been passed down, Marqueta? I have an old cast iron frying pan that was my grandpa's. It must be over eighty years old! Just thinking at how many meals that have been prepared in it makes me smile. And it's been used almost on a daily basis for the 33 years we've been married. That old food mill in the pictures of the spaghetti sauce comes from Ran's grandparents. How many jams and sauces it has seen!

  17. Hello Jane,

    thank you so match for stoping on my blog.
    greatings send you Conny

    Today i iet Sauergraut...:)

  18. Thanks Jane for your nice comment! I enjoyed meeting you on your blog because you are living out my dream, moving out to the country (and you have alot of boys!) It was fun starting a blog, but I'm really not the type to use what I call "electronics". love,andrea

  19. Hi Jane! I hope you are having a nice week so far. It has been a busy one for me, but it feels good to be out doors again. I sure have been enjoying this cooler weather and it is helping me to feel better. I think the humidity during the summer makes the arthritis worse, it happens like this every year, too many times to be a coincidence. Barkley is loving it too, Tony is taking him for a walk now every afternoon at the park. The new Knitting Traditions magazine out! I picked up at the book store yesterday. It has some really great patterns in it this time, with several of the Scandinavian ones that I think you would enjoy. I hope you have a wonderful day ahead! Delisa :)

  20. Well, I'll miss you Andrea! We had a lot in common,lots of kids, love of home and baking same age. But I do understand about not being an "electronic" person!

    Good evening Delisa! Yes, I saw the new Knitting Traditions magazine, but I didn't buy it because it had too many tempting projects and I need to finish those that I've started. I'm so glad that your arthritis is doing better! The change in weather is helping my allergies too. I can taste again! Too bad I didn't lose any weight while everything tasted like Styrofoam, but I kept eating things to see if I could taste it!

  21. Hi Jane! Good morning! You asked if I made the needlepoint rabbit, no, I found him years ago at a harvest craft festival back in California, where he jumped in my shopping bag. Ever since then he has sat in my sewing room chair. I don't know what it is about his eyes, but he looks so real! :) I'm sorry to hear you have allergies. I took some medicine once that altered my taste buds for about a month and it was miserable. I have been having writer's block lately too. I have a few ideas rolling around my head but it has been hard to focus lately and make them catch fire. Have a beautiful day! Delisa :)

  22. I've never made sauerkraut, but I love eating it. When I was a little girl, I remember my mom and grandmother making it and using a big crock for storing it.

  23. My mother just gave me her old crock (with lid). It's still in mint condition. I can't wait to try your recipe !