Oct 09 2009

Red Kraut

No, this isn’t a post about a German communist.  We grew some red cabbage this year, just for fun, and then we had to figure out what to do with it.  I read somewhere that it’s not good for sauerkraut, but I couldn’t remember why, so I started looking for it online.  It turns out lots of people make kraut with it and claim it works just fine, so that’s what we did after all.

I shredded four heads of cabbage on a vegetable slicer, and it came to 10 pounds, so I mixed six tablespoons of pickling salt into that.  I didn’t use caraway seeds this time; figured I’d leave it plain and see how it does.   After it sat a little while, I started packing it into quart canning jars.

Packing Salted Cabbage into Jars

Packing Salted Cabbage into Jars

The handle you can see in the picture is a ladle I packed it down with.  Anything with a blunt handle will do.  You just keep packing more in and smashing it down until the cabbage is about an inch from the top and the juices are coming up to cover it.

Filled Jars of Salted Cabbage

Filled Jars of Salted Cabbage

Then I just wiped off the rims and outsides to make sure they were clean, and put canning lids on.  They go on finger tight, not super tight, so when it starts fermenting, the gases can escape.  I got five quarts out of the ten pounds of cabbage.

Freshly Canned Red Sauerkraut

Freshly Canned Red Sauerkraut

Aren’t they pretty?  Now they go into storage at room temperature, in some sort of container that can catch any liquid that overflows as they ferment.  I put them in a cabinet over the fridge that’s hard to use for anything else.

Kraut Fermenting

Kraut Fermenting

The tubs will catch any overflow.  They don’t need to be nearly that deep; they’re just what we had handy.  The two quarts on the right are kraut from ordinary green cabbage that I started a few weeks ago, so it could probably be eaten any time.  While I was making the red kraut, I could tell red cabbage is definitely tougher than green cabbage, so I suspect it’ll take longer to soften up, but we’ll see in a month or two.

This is probably already way more kraut than we need for the winter, but I’ll be making one more batch from green cabbage when the last of it is ready.

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