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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Making sauerkraut - guest post by Jeannine S

 Shelly and Jaimie were lucky enough to be gifted with a sauerkraut crock. day, Shelly came home from the local farmer's market with a huge head of cabbage. Naturally my question was “What on earth are we going to do with that huge head of cabbage???” To which my sweet daughter-in-law replied “Why, make sauerkraut, of course!” (This was before I knew about the crock.)

Now back in my hippie days in the 70's, I did make sauerkraut, among other things, the old fashioned way with a crockery jar, a plate and a brick. Scenes of the many times the kraut had spoiled due to flies, uncooperative weather, or just plain bad luck, flashed before my eyes. I was dreading it. I hesitantly inquired, “Do you have a crock or big jar we can use?” Sweet Shelly chirped cheerfully, “Well, we have a sauerkraut making crock! Will that do?”

Whew, I figuratively wiped my brow, what a relief! It was actually a great set up. There was the crock with a built in lip to fill with water, a lid and a stone weight for the cabbage. Oh, and by the way, there was also a recipe. Talk about convenient!

We had a production line going, with Jaimie shredding the cabbage (which I HATE to do,) and I was putting it in the crock and smashing it (to release the juice.) We also had to layer it with salt. The worst part was the smashing. I tried a potato masher and that didn't work as well as I wanted it to, so I went back to “old tried and true” - my fist! Once the cabbage was in the crock and layered with salt, we put on the lid and filled the lip with water. (This was to keep the air and wee, small creatures out.)

Then it was just a matter of waiting and fighting the urge to peek at it. After about 6-8 weeks, we opened the crock and for supper, ate some of the most delicious sauerkraut I have ever tasted.

(Editor's note:  We failed to keep water in around the lip of the crock, so it went bad before we put it in the fridge.  So, that went to the compost and we'll be making some more).  

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