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Henry's Homemade Sauerkraut

Having spent a few years in Germany, I know what sauerkraut is supposed to taste like, and most commerically canned sauerkraut doesn't even come close. I began making my own a long time ago. Besides being able to adjust the taste to your own preference, you can also save a bit by making it at home. You will need a large glass jar, raw cabbage, salt (do not use iodized) and some sandwich bags with ties. Natural, locally produced salt is available in all Panama supermarkets and usually comes packed in plastic bags. Until you get the hang of it, try only one or two medium size heads of cabbage at a time.

I start by sterilizing the large jar I use for fermenting. After washing, I put it in a steam cooker for about 10 minutes. Next I shred the cabbage. One large head will make about a quart of sauerkraut. Shred to however fine a texture you want. I use a sharp knife and simply cut slices about 1/8 to ¼ inch thick across the grain (top to bottom of cabbage), then quarter the slices. Put the shredded and separated cabbage into a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of salt per pound of cabbage. (If you are making a larger batch and plan to can it, use 4 tablespoons per 5 pounds.) Mix the cabbage and salt well. When juice begins to form, pack the cabbage into the glass jar. I use a wooden spoon to pack it down as I go. Keep packing the cabbage until it is completely covered by liquid, with no air pocketrs remaining. Fill a sandwich bag about half full with water and tie it off with a bag tie. Work the half filled bag into the jar so that it forms an airlock over the cabbage/brine. Place the jar in a protected place and once a day, remove the air lock and skim off any scum. In about a week, you will have ready to eat sauerkraut, which will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.

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