If so - how successful has it been? Do you like it?
I have a couple of books with recipes and they stress the importance of having a wide jar to make it in, using a weight to keep the cabbage below the brine, and a cover over that to keep flies off. Sounds such a fiddle - then I wondered, could I use a large Caffetiere (French Press)? It would keep the cabbage under and the top lid would keep out flies - what do you think??
I make it pretty simply:
If you salt it enough, it shouldn't go moldy. If you cut it small enough and break it down with your hands, it will release plenty of liquid. If it's warm in your house, only leave it out a few days before refrigerating. If it's cool, leave it out 10 days.
I thought about getting a special crock with a weight and it would be nice to have but I haven't had the need to. A good resource for making ferments is Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
I make my own sauerkraut. I've been doing it for about a year now. Here's how I do it:
Never in that process do I use a weight or a plate. I've never found that I need to keep my cabbage below the brine. It kinda does that on it's own while it ferments (because the salt is drawing the moisture out). And it leaks, so I keep the jars in little plastic bowls.
All that said, trying a french press might work too! ;)
P.S. Sometimes I use raw apple cider vinegar instead of whey. Works like a charm!
Following is a link for making kimchi but i swear to the almight chili lord that this stuff is stupidly delicious. I love kraut too, dont get me wrong (and afterall, kraut and kimchi are essentially the same thing, one simply hot and the other not so much) but this stuff is just too good to pass up.
Sauerkraut is extremely easy to make at home, in amounts as large or small as desired. Shred cabbage and mix it with salt (a half tablespoon of salt per pound of shredded cabbage). Pack the cabbage into mason jars to one inch below the top, and tighten the lids. After the salt has had a chance to draw out water for a few hours, open the jars and pack the cabbage down to cover with liquid (if there's not enough liquid, add a little filtered water), and put the lids back on tightly. Keep the jars at room temperature, preferably on the cool end of room temperature. Once a day, loosen the lids just enough to vent off any gas pressure and retighten the lids. Do not open the jar all the way, as that lets oxygen back in to the jar. The gas that vents off is CO2, and it purges the jar of oxygen, making it impossible for yeasts and other nasties to grow. After five days or so, the jars stop venting, and at that point, they should be put in the fridge to age for at least two more weeks.
i use the perfect pickler. i have tried to make a few batches in the past with mason jars but, they didn't work. the perfect pickler costs around 20 bucks but it makes awsome krout and pickles everytime. and it comes with directions.
When I was a kid my neighbors were doing their own sauerkraut. They were doing huge amounts, for whole winter... and their were employing us (kids) to help. How? After chopping it all they put it huge pot (like you see in some communal kitchens) and we had to walk in them! similarly to what you see in traditional wine production. It was always fun :) So try to break the cabbage really, really well. Traditionally a lot of people add some shredded carrots as well.
Oh, and generally stone vessels are good for pickling.
Nowadays I just stuff my prepared kraut or kimchi into mason jars smashing it down tight so that the liquid is covering the top of the veg. This works well for the short fermentation time (on the counter) and once it's in the fridge it slows down so less worry about spoilage. Not to mention you are going to eat it pretty fast. Kimchi in particular kills sugar cravings like nobody's business:)
Be sure to remember to set jars on a plate or something to catch juice that will overflow during fermentation.
Also if you really want the cabbage in there as tight as possible stick a clean chopstick into the jar along the sides, after it is packed and let any air bubbles out. Then you'll know if you need more liquid.
Finally, when you finish eating your tasty sauerkraut or kimchi, be sure to save any leftover liquid to use in your next batch. It really gets the ferment going.
PS if you do a lot of different kinds of pickles, you can check out a Japanese pickle maker, which is a container with a screw down pusher which you tighten on top of your batch until it is completely covered in liquid. Good for large batches.
I love making sauerkraut. In addition to what everyone else has said here, I'd add-
-Use Red Cabbage! It tastes better, and I believe its healthier
-Make sure you use sea salt or kosher salt. Iodized salt will kill the fermenting process
-I believe metal containers interfere with the process as well, use ceramic, glass or plastic
^Ditto the red cabbage! I also add red onions for a kick, jalapenos, and carrots.
I've found that it is best to let the flavor develop for months as it seems to get better and better after the first 3 months.
I also save the juice and drink it.
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