I’ve gone thru many phases in my Gardening career and lately have settled in to growing just what we plan to eat fresh, except tomatoes and peppers, which we preserve. So, for cabbage I usually grow enough for some slaw, a few batches cooked, and a couple to give away. However, we have a new friend, Mark, of German descent who makes good kraut and agreed to show me his process.
He likes to make his dry, so the liquid was dipped out after each pounding. The process continues in successive 3 inch layers until it is within about 4 inches of the top.
I don’t know how much kraut I’ve made over the years (it’s a lot) but I’ve never made any I like as well as that in the refrigerated bags in the market - mines never crisp enough or tangy enough, or ….
This year I grew extra for preserving and these plus the four previously harvested heads and the two smaller ones still in the garden constitute my crop.
These are Dutch Flat, which I grew because they make big heads and I got a lot of cabbage pre foot of garden row. Mark picked up a few more heads to have enough for a full five gallon crock. Here is 2/3 of it ready to slice.
In addition to some cabbage, he also brought his tools and it’s obvious he takes his kraut seriously – he makes 15 gallons at a time.
My buddy Joe came over to learn the process as well and this is him cutting on one of the two mandolins.
Fermented kraut is made using nothing but cabbage and salt (Mark uses Kosher) and after each 3 inch layer of cut cabbage is in the crock, it is salted and pounded to get the juices flowing. Mark’s brother made him this very serious tool for doing the pounding.
As you can see by Mark’s shirt, this is not an easy job. I hate to admit it but Mark and Joe did the lion's share of the work.
The crock was sealed with a bag of water and stored to ferment for 6-8 weeks.
All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.
One year ago: Blogger Party 2011
Two years ago: Smoked Chicken On The Gas Grill
6/8/12 event date