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Anyone make sauerkraut out there?

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by tonini3059, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    My cousin and I made 400lbs of sauerkraut on Friday and everything went really well. It only took four hours including all prep, clean up and a half hour pizza break. My question is for anyone else who has made it, what is your favorite type of cutter? We used one of his great great grandparents from the early 1900s. It worked very well except the box you put the head of cabbage in is very worn so we were not able to use the box. As a result I had to push the head by hand and although I had no accidents there was the potential for me getting cut. Also there was a lot of cabbage I was not able to cut just because I couldn't get my hands that close to the blades. I will try and make a new box but if I cannot I will need to buy a new cutter. Plus it wouldn't hurt to have a spare one incase we end up doing more than a few hundred pounds. So who out there has used a cutter, has liked it or not, and if you liked it where could I buy it. I know I can find a bunch online but I would rather have some advice before I purchase one. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. chickenvirgin

    chickenvirgin Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Blaine Lake, SK
    I made sauerkraut last year for the first time and only did 50 lbs of cabbage. I used the food processer worked great.
     
  3. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    I used my FP for the left over cabbage. It worked but the shreds were a little too small, more like cole slaw than kraut. For such a large amount a FP would take too long so I do need a cutter.
     
  4. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    We use my grandmother's mandolin cutter. Made 100 lbs in 2008 and probably around 75 lbs of cabbage into kraut in 2009.
    We found we like the thinner sliced kraut better and we fermented it for 8 weeks in crocks then packed in jars for waterbath canning.
     
  5. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    Yeah, same problem. The mandolin is too small and would take too long, that's why I need a cutter actually made for sauerkraut. I will see what I can find online, I sure there is a good one out there. Thanks for the help though.
     
  6. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I tried this twice this year, both times it failed and I ended up with sticky brown mush. I did it in a container rather then a crock pot I was suggested to use. I thought maybe it was too warm in the pantry we used for how the temp was supposed to be.

    Who know what I did wrong, but I will try again soon... I have several heads of cabbage in the garden that will be ready to pick in a week or 2.
     
  7. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    It is hard to say what happened, but it sounds like it fermented too fast and too much. I keep mine in the basement and it is about 65 degrees down there. I do not think the container matters, but I only use crocks. Another thing that is important is that the kraut should be packed as tight as possible in the container. I grate some cabbage, pack it, salt it and repeat. I hope you have some luck with it this year as it is magnitudes better than anything you can get in the store. If you have anymore questions let me know and I will try and answer them the best I can.
     
  8. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I can put it in the attic... but it can get down into the 40's up there in no time!

    I packed it in a pot with an upside down lid and plate AND a double bagged ziplock bag full of water.

    Give me a quick run down on how you do one pot full? DO you just crush it down to release moisture, or do you add water? How much pressure do you try to add? What do you use to add the top/pressure with?!

    I was also told only to use Kosher or sea salt... is that right?!

    I'm determined to get this! [​IMG]
     
  9. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    What we do is shred two or three heads in a crock, about a four inch layer in a 10 gallon crock. We then step on the cabbage, like you would press wine, to try and pack it down as much as possible, you want a pretty solid layer. You can either use your fist to pound it down or a big soup can could work I would think since you are doing it in a pot. However I think the metal may cause some off flavors so plastic or ceramic would be a better choice for a containment vessel. Then we add about a 1/4 cup of pickling salt to the top. Kosher will work fine, just make sure the salt you use doesn't have iodine in it. The salt will pull moisture out of the cabbage and also stop the growth of bad bacteria while good bacteria can take over. Then we repeat until it is until about 3/4s of the way full. Then we place the large green leaves from the cabbage on top of the cabbage, a tea towel, a clean plate then a gallon jug of water. I add water to the crock, make sure it is spring or distilled, the chlorine will kill the good bacteria, until it comes up to the bottom of the plate. Place a garbage bag on top of it all and down the sides, in essence sealing the crock. Keep checking it periodically and add water as necessary. When a big layer of scum and mold form take out the jug, plate, towel and leaves and rinse clean and then replace. I don't think there is anything I am missing, but questions are more than welcome. The time it takes for it to pickle depends on the temperature of the crocks, the warmer it is the faster it goes. Down in the basement, 60-65, it takes 8-10 weeks.
     
  10. NanaKat

    NanaKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    We have made kraut for years...the biggest batch was 200 pounds....yielding about 55 quarts.
    Hubby's mother has made kraut since the 1930s...so we use a combination of her method and research in the 1937 edition of the "Joy of Cooking" cookbook. In our neck of the woods, I'm known as the kraut lady...thanks to hubby giving me all the credit when he shares with neighbors. We have been teaching neighbors how to make kraut.

    We begin in early summer when the cabbage is ready in the garden.
    I've used a old kraut cutter found at an antique store. It has two blades in it that can be adjusted so you can vary the width of cut...like a mandolin.
    My food processor has a slicing plate that has helped speed up the process.
    Last year I ordered 200 pounds of "long shread" from a restaurant supplier of organic produce. With health and surgeries we can no longer spend the hours cutting our own. (Only took one hour to pack and seal the two crocks and we used a 10 and 20 gallon)

    Once the cabbage is cut, we pack about 20 pounds into the bottom of a 10 gallon or 20 gallon crock. I use both. Also works in 2, 5, and 8 gallon crocks.
    We use the end of a rolling pen with no handles to pack it. (Hubby came up with using a sterilized end of a new ax handle and this works great because of the extra length and weight)
    Sprinkle each layer with 1/8 cup of canning salt...no iodine.
    When the crock is filled to within 6 inches from the top, I cover it with an upside down plate, set a couple of clean gallon jugs of water to weight it down.
    Then I use a clean plastic bag taped with stripping tape to the side of the crock to make it air tight. I cover this with a large towel and tie the towel with string. You want no air, not light and definitely no bugs.

    I do not add any water. I do not check it for four weeks. We set the crocks on wooden slats to prevent mold on the bottom of the crocks and to allow for air circulation. The crocks are set up in the carport in the cool shade on cool concrete. We pack the crocks where they will sit during the pickling.

    When the kraut is ready (four to six weeks), hubby dollies the crocks into the kitchen and we pack quart jars using a packer. We make it a family affair with many hands on deck. We water bath the jars for 20 minutes and then keep in a cool dark pantry. (You can can the left over juice the same way if you desire. Some grocery stores now sell the juice in the canned food area for homeopathic remedy...the salt brine helps clean out your system) Any jar that doesn't seal goes in to the fridge for first eatting.

    From experience, adding any water makes mold. By allowing the salt to pull the moisture from the cabbage, you have a better brine and a better texture on the kraut. And the pickling process is faster. I've not had to scim a moldy mother off the kraut, no have I had to feed the first few inches to the chickens in over 5 years.

    Toni is correct is stating that the outside temperature affects the speed of pickling. We try to have our kraut put up in the pantry by June 30 because the temperatures outside begin to hit the 100s here in Oklahoma.

    We have not made Fall kraut because our hot summer temperatures are too high for growing fall cabbage.

    Hope this helps. We love our kraut!
     

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