Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Lucky Find and its product (aka Saurkraut)

A while back, I was in the basement at my parent's house and I saw this big white thing hidden in the back corner of the fruit cellar. I dig it out and its this huge ceramic crock! Not only that but in the bottom is a wooden weight/lid! So of course, first thing I started thinking about? Saurkraut! Yum yum yum. I even found this old wooden handbuilt mandolin that my grandfather made for slicing the cabbage. Of course, I had to talk my mom out of it, and back to Ohio it came!

So I cleaned it out and waited for cabbage to go on sale. Meanwhile I read up on making saurkraut. Unfortunately, Pap had written his recipe on a piece of paper and attached it to the bag the mandolin was in. Either water or mice got to it, so I only have about 1/2 of the recipe. The damage was right down the middle of the paper! Of course. So I did some research and the next time it was cheap, I picked up 6 heads of cabbage. Some shredding and cutting and salt later, I have it packed in the crock. 6 heads, maybe 2 inches deep... that's all. Only another 30 inches to fill next time.
As you can see, once I put the cabbage in, its gets covered with a wooden lid that just about fits all the way around. Have to let the excess gases escape somehow...
After the wooden weight goes on, I weighted it down even more with a full jug of white vinegar. Hey it was handy and able to be sanatized quickly!
As it is in the cooler basement, I've given it a few weeks and I think its about ready! One of the great things about saurkraut is that you can eat it fresh, right out of the crock, you can raw pack it for canning, or you could hot pack it. Nyom nyom nyom. YUMMY!
This is a picture of the saurkraut once the wooden weight comes off. Everyone online says that the blue color around the edge is just a scum that is formed that won't hurt you but that you can try to skim off. I just took a few scoops out of the center, re-leveled it and put the weight back on.
So the saurkraut was good, but I think it may need another week or two. Also, I found that it is possible to put too much salt on the cabbage when you are making it. Trust the recipes online when they say 3-4 Tbsp per 6 heads of cabbage! Still, very good for a first try! Will be doing this again!
I guess you can figure out what will be getting a lot of room in the garden next year! :-)


HermitJim said...

Sounds like a lucky find to me! And having another source for comfort food ain't bad, either!

Homemade food always seems to taste better, don't you think?

Cool post, Farmer!

DivaHick said...

Now if you can just get a deer we could have venison sausage to go with it....

ConfessionsOfAnOverworkedMom said...

That sounds so good. My Grandmother used to make it that way a long time ago. Almost impossible to find a good crock nowadays though unless you hit an antique store.

FarmerGeek said...

Thanks for stopping by, Confessions. Its true, it is very hard to find these, and I would rather find one at an antique store, but... Lehmans in Kidron Ohio (www.lehmans.com) sells them new. They have a few different styles. Its an amazing place, but the prices for the crocks, well, shipping them is a pain, let's leave it at that! :-)

Thanks for the comment!