Friday, October 28, 2011

~Homemade Sauerkraut~

Farmhouse Culture's Classic Kraut with Caraway

Martha Stewart Living, October 2011
  • Prep Time 30 minutes
  • Total Time About 3 weeks
  • Yield Makes 3 pints


  • 1 head green cabbage (3 pounds), shredded (14 cups), 3 whole small leaves reserved
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • Coarse sea salt


  1. Combine cabbage, caraway seeds, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes. Massage to release liquid from cabbage (forming a brine), about 5 minutes.
  2. Pack cabbage mixture into 3 pint-size canning jars, making sure brine covers cabbage by at least 1 inch and leaving 1 to 2 inches of space at the top. Fold and push 1 reserved leaf into each, filling the top space (leaves do not need to be fully submerged).
  3. Close jars tightly, and transfer to a glass baking dish or a nonreactive container with 2-inch-high sides. Let stand in a cool, dark place (64 degrees to 70 degrees) for 5 days.
  4. Slowly open and quickly close jars to gently release built-up pressure, being careful not to let the liquid bubble out. Let stand for 5 more days. Reopen jars to release pressure.
  5. Let stand for 5 more days. Taste to determine if kraut is sour enough. Let stand until kraut is to your liking (we like a 21-day ferment), continuing to open jars every few days to release pressure.

It's a good thing...or is it?

Sauerkraut.  Love it, always have.  If sauerkraut is among the condiments at a meal (typically hot dog related) then you can bet that I'll be scooping.  In this month's October MSL magazine, an article was written about a woman that runs a small organic farm in Santa Cruz, California.  Kathryn Lukas, founder of Farmhouse Culture, loves making sauerkraut at her coastal California farm.   In this article she not only shares her easy recipes for making sauerkraut.  She also add a bit of history and passion about her way of life. 

The picture of a large, leafy-green cabbage being held over a Mason jar full of sauerkraut immediately made me stop turning the pages. I became even more fascinated with this article when I found out that Kathryn wrote a thesis titled "Reclaiming Pre-Corporate Food Traditions".  I'm somewhat of a food activist and speaker (at a local yoga studio) so her thesis title resonated within the roots of my soul. 

Yes, that is one reason why I love cooking.  In a way, I guess you could say that I'm being counter cultural when I choose to reach for a pot and spoon instead of a plastic jar.  Fortunately, this stereotype is beginning to change.  With food articles such as this one being published, more and more people are learning to take charge of their food.    

 Photo Gallery

In early October, I made the kraut, and then tucked it away into the back of our kitchen cupboard.  A few weeks later, after the fermentation process occurred, the sauerkraut was ready to be enjoyed by our families only sauerkraut fan: me.  Recently, I found out that Ben dislikes sauerkraut, so that leaves me with five jars all to myself. 

Come to find out, sauerkraut is somewhat of a health food!  It contains gut-healthy probiotics, cool huh?  I guess late night snacking will be German-style for quite some time, but at least I'm snacking on something nutritious and that's rooted in my ancestry.  Genie├čen!  (That's enjoy in German)

Three pounds, can you believe it?  I never knew that an average-size cabbage weighed that much. 
The three-pounder was chopped and shredded in preparation for the kraut.
Caraway seeds, salt and water were added to the cabbage.  I let it stand for 20 minutes and then the cabbage got a massage!  Yeah, that's right.  I massaged the cabbage for 5 minutes so that the liquid in the cabbage leaves would form a brine.  Actually, this would be a great thing to show young children when discussing osmosis and concentration gradients.  Hmmm, I'll remember that for future reference. 
Once sanitized in the dishwasher, I decorated the jars with some Martha Stewart tape (it looks like ribbon). 
Here's a look at the cabbage mixture.  The brine is starting to form underneath the leaves.
After I had a good amount of brine from the cabbage leaves, I put everything into the jars.  Then they got a three week vacation in my cupboard.
The sauerkraut is now ready to be dished out and enjoyed. 

~Demystify Your Food~

1 comment:

Scat said...

Thanks I'd love to try this!