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  1. #1
    erain's Avatar
    erain is offline Can tell pulled pork from sliced brisket erain will become famous soon enough
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default home made sauerkraut

    i have seen a number of posts in the short time i have been a member using sauerkraut as an ingredient. i thought i would pass this on to everyone in case anyone is interested in making there own. the first part will be the initial steps in making the kraut. the second part will be getting it all set for storage for use throughout the year.

    first off you need cabbage, i always grow the dutch hard flat type. cabbage harvested.

    we going to do this part outside, was a nice day out and no clean up inside the house to worry about. find a shady spot on a day w/o wind and bugs, or the garage. here is what we all need: tubs,crocks,cabbage cutter,scale,tote for mixing,canning/pickling salt, and of course cabbage.

    those are incidently redwing crocks from early 1900's, we collect them a little and we also put them to use. foodgrade plastic pails or other non reactive container will work as well.

    peel outer leaves off the head till down to clean cabbage, halve and core the cabbage like in picture. rinse of the cabbage at this point and now we ready to start the process.

    using the cutter, always keep fingers away from cutting blades!!! when starting to get close just use another half head to continue pushing the cabbage down, keeping your fingers safe. this is old antique equipment not built with todays saftey standards...

    after a bit you will end up with this, these two tubs have 40 lbs. of sliced cabbage in each.

    weigh exacty 5 bs shredded cabbage into tote, preset the scale to read zero with empty tote.

    add 1/4 cup canning/pickling salt.

    mix well and the cabbage will start to sort of wilt.

    and will start to make juice, tilted tote so you can see in corner.

    at this point add to clean container being used for the fermentation. i use a potato masher to pack the kraut down. every 5 lb batch added be sure to firmly pack.

    fill container to within a couple of inches of the top, again making sure firmly packed.

    using a couple of heavy food grade plastic bags(get mine from my butcher friend), double bag and fill with water so when set on top of cabbage the level is equal too or a little above the top. this is your weight and your seal. you will see bubbling and gasses will be forced out along the sides. the bag with water acts as a pressure lock to keep air from going in. do not peek during the fermentation stage.

    i now set the crocks on cardboard on my garge floor. temp is important here, fermentation will cease at 76 deg on high side and 55 deg on low side. approxmate fermentation times are 3 weeks at 75 deg, 4 weeks at 70 deg. allow 5-6 weeks at 60 deg. Do not store the crock at temperatures below 55 or over 76 or fermentation will not take place and the cabbage will spoil. Fermentation is complete when the bubbling has stopped and bubbles no longer form when the side of the crock is tapped.

    a pic of the bubbles created by the escaping gas, again do not move bag and break the air lock.

    it took 4 weeks for it to complete the fermentation, remove water bag weight for first peek, the kraut is ready to eat. sampled some with some pork shanks. was great. now here i set with 80 lbs of this stuff. so i am going to can most of it. so this second part will show you how that is done.

    using a canner or stock pot on the stove, heat up workable amounts of the kraut along with the brine from the crock.
    pack the hot kraut in hot sterilized quart jars to 1/2" headspace, topping with a new lid that was taken from simmering water. add band and turn on, do not overtighten.

    into canner, boiling water bath for 25 minutes. DONT stick cold jars into boiling water. they can and will crack. put jars in water turn up heat and start timer when reaches full boil.

    after there time in the canner set in a place for them to cool down, the lids will pop seal as they cool, any not sealed put in fridge for imediate use or reprocess. mine all sealed. i also heard some people do not can, but freeze it. i made up a couple bags full, filled with brine and squeezed the air out and froze. i havent tried it yet. will pretty soon, wanted to let it set in freezer for a little extended period to test it out.

    well thats all folks, kind of long and dragged out but hopefully everything is covered. any questions feel free to contact me and ask. hope some of you try it out, its awesome and you will never buy that stuff in a can again!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States


    Looks good. A lot of work
    Big Green Egg - Large
    Backwoods - Custom Party
    FEC 100

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    St. Petersburg, Fl.


    Nice job. That's a lot of work. You must eat a lot of sauerkraut to go through all that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Carthage, MO


    What a process and what a load of kraut! Do you ever make any spicey kraut? Bet that is some awesome stuff though. Thanks for sharing the process and pics. Kewl way to seal the crocks during fermentation too.
    Plank Owner ..................
    I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Rogers, Ar.


    Is it like a fine wine, does it get better with age.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    Good looking kraut Erain! Bet it's tasty too. Thank for posting this.

    7' horizontal wood burner
    vertical brinkman-charcoal
    underground pit
    cinderblock pit
    Memphis Pro
    tractor rim fire ring cooker
    Sterling Forge 4 burner gas grill w rotis burner, side burner and smoke box
    4 calf fry/turkey/fish/crawdad cookers
    EZQue camping rotis
    2 charcoal grills
    AND 1 smokehouse

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    DFW, Texas


    Great post, erain! I don't think we'd go through all that at our house, but it's great to see the whole process. Being homemade, I bet it's got a better taste than the store stuff, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzards Roost View Post
    Is it like a fine wine, does it get better with age.
    BR, you win. I thought I'd heard it all, but never heard sauerkraut compared to fine wine.
    Rob - TX Sandman
    Plank Owner, TQJ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Rogers, Ar.


    I couldn't help it. It pop in my mind had to ask.

  9. #9
    SmokyOkie Guest


    Most excellent thread Erain!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Ruskin, FL


    Great post, Erain! Very informative. That's similar to the way Grandma does it....good stuff!
    BBQ Jones comp team
    KCBS Member

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