Monday, November 26, 2018

Simple Sauerkraut


When I received a shipment of German wines for an upcoming post for Wine Pairing Weekend, last month, I immediately asked friends who have lived in Germany and are of German descent if they would teach me some recipes. They did one better: they offered to host a dinner with traditional German recipes if I would make and bring sauerkraut. Done!


Thankfully, I remembered the week ahead of time because this sauerkraut needs to ferment for between 3 to 10 days; this version was 7 days. And...it was a hit! One of the kids said she didn't normally like sauerkraut, but she liked mine. The host stuck his nose in the jar before we served and nodded, saying, "That smells right."


There are very few ingredients. The only things that I would suggest having to make your life easier: a mandolin slicer, glass fermentation weights, and a vegetable tamper. I use mine all the time! But you don't need them to make this recipe. They just make this process easier.


Ingredients
  • 2 medium cabbage heads, prefer organic
  • 2 T sea salt
  • 1 T caraway seeds
  • Also needed: mandolin slicer, vegetable tamper, quart jar with seal and clamp


Procedure
Use a mandolin slicer to cut cabbage. I ended up with about 9 or 10 cups.


Place cabbage and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Massage the cabbage and salt together with your hands, as if you're making a massaged kale salad. When the cabbage has become limp and releases some of its juice, transfer into jar or jars. 


Pack the salted cabbage into the jars as tightly as you can, eliminating air bubbles. This is when I use the vegetable tamper.

Continue packing the cabbage into the jar until the cabbage is completely submerged by liquid. Gently drop in the glass fermentation weights and press down so that the cabbage and the weight are completely covered by the liquid. Mine has a good 1/2" to 3/4" above the weight to start.


Now allow it to sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for at least three days. You can open it up and press down on the glass weight to expel even more liquid. Once it's to your liking, move the sauerkraut to the refrigerator. Seven to ten days of fermenting is usually perfect.

A quick note on serving: Daryl said that he had never eaten sauerkraut chilled. So, he heated up half of the kraut and left half cold. We ate this with Schweineschnitzel and Spätzle. Those recipes will be coming soon. And you can see my tasting notes on the wine pairings on December 8th. Stay tuned.

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