Tuesday, September 27, 2011
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?