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Making and Canning Sauerkraut

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I accidentally bought 67.5 pounds of cabbage. A vendor showed me a giant box of cabbage and told me it was $10, and looking at the enormity of the box, clearly it was a good deal. I didn’t know the exact calculation until I hauled it home, weighed the cabbage, and realized I had only paid 14 cents a pound. I was exited about the deal, but then I looked at all that cabbage, and realized that was my life for the next two days. My first go to in putting up this bounty was sauerkraut.

When buying in bulk, I always employ the method of preserving which will take the longest, and start there. Usually, it’s dehydration, but fermentation takes much longer, and in this case, three weeks. What looks like a massive amount of cabbage ends up shrinking down quite a bit. I used 25 pounds of cabbage, and ended up with 7 pints and 7 quarts of sauerkraut. Here’s how you do it . .

For every 5 pounds of cabbage, you will need 3 tablespoons of salt. First, cut the core out of your cabbage.

Chopped Cabbage for Sauerkraut

 

Shred your cabbage and mix with salt. I added caraway seed, but that is optional. Put cabbage mixture in a crock, bucket, or another food-grade container.

 

Sauerkraut in Crock

 

Now beat the heck out of the cabbage with a large wooden or plastic spoon until juices start to release. This is a great chore for kids. I leave mine set for awhile to let the salt do its job, and then come back and tamp down more. The goal is to have enough liquid to cover the cabbage. If you don’t have enough liquid, simply make a salt water solution and add to mixture.

Place a plate big enough to cover the cabbage, over the mixture. Put a heavy weight on top of the plate. I used a mason jar filled with water. Cover with towel. I checked on the mixture every week, for three weeks, washing the plate and jar, and replacing it.

Fermenting Sauerkraut

 

It looks very sauerkrautish, don’t you think?

The sauerkraut can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for several months, but I like canning mine. Just fill clean canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space, making sure the brine, or added water, is covering the top.

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Seal with rims, and new lids and water bath can for 20 minutes for pints, and 25 minutes for quarts.

My favorite way to eat sauerkraut is Aunt Gloria’s Pork and Sauerkraut. You can also eat it on hot dogs, and on Reuben sandwiches.

Next time you see cabbage go on sale, load up for a big batch of sauerkraut. If you are looking for other ways to use cabbage, try cabbage beef and rice casserole, make coleslaw, and dehydrate cabbage. As your family’s home economist, always look for a variety of ways to use sale produce to stash away for later. If you ever need ideas for using any type of bulk produce, ask a question on Preserved Home’s Facebook page, and I’ll help you figure it out.

 

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mary December 10, 2015, 5:03 AM

    Hello. Just wondering if you have a recipe/technique for freezing coleslaw? Or if it is even possible to do. Thanks!

    • Laura Macklem December 10, 2015, 3:28 PM

      Hi Mary! I just make the coleslaw without mayo, and freeze. After I thaw the slaw, I add the mayo. You can also can coleslaw without mayo, but it’s a little more limp — still good, but I like it frozen better. As I type this, I’m wondering if I should try and can some with pickle crisp and see if that makes a difference. Hummm . . . Sounds like an experiment for me!

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