My daughter has been hosting a Octoberfest for the past few years. The whole family goes and of course everyone brings something. I have been in Florida and missed every single one so last year I told my husband that I WILL be going to the next one, even if I had to swim the Atlantic to get home. Well I am home, I didn’t have to swim, and I came up with a great idea! I would learn to make sauerkraut using all the cabbage I have growing in my garden (46 of them to be exact – that’s alotta cabbage!) and I would give everyone a jar (or 2) to bring home with them. Win, Win, Win!!
- 1 medium head of cabbage (about 3 pounds) – I used Savoy Cabbage
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of caraway seeds (optional)
Wash everything you will be using really good because you will be fermenting your cabbage. Which means it will be sitting in a cool, dark place for a few days getting soft and juicy. Good bacteria will work to break down the sugar in the cabbage creating a brine for the cabbage to ferment in. I don’t know about you but any time I read that something is going to be sitting on my counter, without refrigeration, I get a little nervous. Unless of course it is covered in alcohol, like brandy or vodka, like I did with my fruit infused spirits. If you missed that one you can check it out here. Fruit Infused Spirits
After everything is good and clean-cut up your cabbage. Throw away any wilted outer leaves, cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the core and then slice each one into thin ribbons.
Put the cabbage into a really big bowl and sprinkle the salt over it. Start working that salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing it with your hands. In about 10 minutes or so the cabbage will have become all watery and limp, go ahead and mix in your caraway seeds if you want to use them. Now you are going to take handfuls of the cabbage and pack it into the jar (or jars). If you have liquid left in your bowl go ahead and pour that in as well. Cover the jar with a cloth or you can use a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. This will let the air get in but keep any dust, insects, or if your house is like mine, dog or cat hair out. Over the next 24 hours make sure to press down the cabbage with a spoon every once in a while. This will help it to release its liquid and become more limp and compact so eventually the liquid will cover the top of the cabbage. If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen over the top simply take 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in it and pour enough into the jar to cover everything. Keep it away from direct light and in a cool area between 65-75 degrees. Let it sit for about a week so it can ferment although it may be ready in as soon as 3 days. Just give it a taste and if you think its ready then remove the cloth, cover the jar with a lid and put it in the fridge. It will stay good for a long time because it is fermented so no worries.
I found a great recipe on-line from theKitchn. Great blog by the way, I bookmarked this one and for sure I will be visiting it often. If you want to know all about the fermentation process, the how and the why then jump on over there because it is very interesting. How to make homemade sauerkraut in a mason jar.
*Sauerkraut Update. My jar has been sitting for 3 days now, it looks great, tastes great and smells… well it smells. It smells like cabbage! My son came into the kitchen yesterday morning while I was at the counter making his breakfast. He gave me a strange look. “What stinks in here?” I told him I didn’t smell anything, “Something smells like… B.O. Mom!!” It was of course the sauerkraut. Really!