Sauerkraut The Old-Fashioned Way

23 October 2009
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I’m trying to remember what drove me to give sauerkraut a try. I didn’t grow up on the stuff despite being of good ol’ Mennonite ancestry. In fact, I’d never had sauerkraut at all until a couple or three months ago.

At any rate, I explored how to make sauerkraut and learned it could be made using

  • 11.34 kg / 25 pounds cabbage
  • 180 grams / 3/4 cup salt

Or

  • 1 kg cabbage, shredded
  • 16 grams / 3 1/4 teaspoon salt

Or, more loosely, shred or slice finely whatever amount of cabbage you want to use. Pound until the cabbage glistens, doing it layer by layer as necessary. Add enough salt to make it taste right. Put into a non-reactive container, put a weight on top to keep the cabbage submerged in the liquied, and leave, at room temperature, until the cabbage is ready. Ready depends on your preferences for how you like your sauerkraut and what kind of cabbage you used (ie head or Napa). When it’s ready, store in the fridge.

If you’ve already made a batch of sauerkraut, it’s also said that you can add a tablespoon or two of the liquid from the old sauerkraut to the new to help it ferment faster.

Personally, I went with the looser definition of making sauerkraut, and it turned out that Fahim and I loved it, as did Fahim’s brother and his wife. Fahim’s parents, however, did not. Ah well, can’t win ’em all. 🙂

From my first batch of sauerkraut:

From my second batch of sauerkraut:

I pounded the cabbage with the end of the rolling pin for the first two batches. Okay, okay, Fahim’s whine if he reads this. 😛 Fahim took pity on me and pounded the second batch, which was at least twice as big as the first batch. He was great about it – pounding layer by layer as I cut up the cabbage. Worked out great for me. 🙂 He also added the salt and red chilli pepper powder in perfect proportions. Go figure. 🙂

For my third batch, I used my stone pestle, which is dang heavy, and let its weight do all the work for me – much easier! Once I’m done pounding, I put a sheet of plastic over the cabbage, then put a plate on top of that and weighed it down so the liquid rose above the level of the cabbage.

If the cabbage is above the level of the liquid, it can rot and go slimy. We don’t want that. 🙂

For the second and third batches, I also added red chilli pepper powder – Fahim thought it would be great – and we love it that way even more. 😀 Technically, this brings us closer to the realm of kimchi, but I don’t think we’re there quite yet…

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About LMAshton

Howdy and welcome to my site! I'm Laurie and I'll be your, er, hostess today. :)

I'm a Canadian expat currently living in Singapore. I'm married to a Sri Lankan and lived in Sri Lanka for nearly a decade. We also lived in New Zealand for half a year.

I cook Sri Lankan curries, sambols, and mallungs. I bake bread using wild yeast (sourdough that isn't sour). I bake on the stove. I experiment with Indian / Malaysian / Indonesian / Thai / whatever cuisines interest me. And I experiment wildly.

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