Home Farm Recipes Jams, Jellies & Food Preserving Sauerkraut
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Cabbage has always been the most reliable crop in our garden, here in the Great Northwest.  Easy to grow. Versatile culinary uses.  One of Nature’s natural health foods.  We fill our biggest crock pot, at least once, every year and brew a batch of sauerkraut.  Add a smoked Kielbasa with BBQ sauce and some cornbread muffins and it’s suppertime.

100_1415 Wash and core cabbage, and shred or finely chop.

In a large bowl, put 5 pounds shredded cabbage and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons salt ( canning and pickling salt preferred ).  Mix well and let stand for 20 minutes to wilt slightly, then mix again and layer it into the crock pot, spreading and pressing it flat.  Repeat until cabbage is gone or crock pot is filled to within 4 or 5 inches from the top.  Add a salt water brine, a little at a time, until it rises even with the surface of the cabbage. ( Brine made by dissolving 1 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 quart of water.)  Lay a plate, or something flat that fits inside the crock pot, on the cabbage and weight it down with something like another plate. ( I’ve also used a plastic garbage bag inside another garbage bag, filling the inside bag with water about an inch in depth, for a custom fit ).  Cover with a cloth and tie a string around it, to keep out dust and insects.  Put in a warm place, room temperature, for 6 to 8 weeks for curing and fermentation.

Remove coverings from sauerkraut and scrape off the top layer ( 3/8 to 1/2 inch worth ) and discard.  I sometimes give it to my chickens, it make them extra perky for a day or so. 

Firmly pack sauerkraut into jars and cover with salt water brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Clean rims of jars, cover with lids and adjust bands finger tight and place in water-bath canner filled with cold water 2 inches above the jars.  Bring water to a boil.  Process in boiling water for 30 minutes.  Remove from canner, cool, label and check lid seal before storing.

Many folks prefer to drain and rinse sauerkraut before they prepare it for a meal, for a milder flavor.  I do this when I serve it plain as a side dish, but I just drain it when used in recipes.

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