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Sauerkraut?

sauerkraut is one of my favorite foods--I eat it straight from the jar--and I'm curious about how it's made. is it something you can make yourself, or is it so complicated/time-consuming that it's just easier to buy it? does anyone have any recipes? thanks!

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  1. If you like the kind you are already buying, you might want to stick with it--it's not really complicated but it is time consuming. I haven't made it myself but I've seen recipes. Basically you slice, salt, store and ferment cabbage until it turns into kraut. I think it takes at least a couple of weeks. Everything has to be very clean going in, obviously, and you would need cool space for the crock--but not neccessarily the fridge. Most recipes I have seen come from older books and they have huge yields as it was a preservation technique. Maybe someone has a modern, easy version?

    Personally, I eat it so rarely that good storebought is fine with me--i like the kind that is in plastic bags in the refridgerated section of the store--I think it has better texture. It would be fun to try homemade sometime. There's a restaurant near me that I htink makes it's own and it is so delicate in comparison to the stuff you get on hotdogs!

    3 Replies
    1. re: dct

      oh wow, that does sound rather involved. I've never attempted canning/preserving anything, and this seems like something I'd have to work my way up to. and probably move to a much larger apartment.
      I agree with you about the bagged refrigerated kind, but I've also just tried some specialty jarred German import they had on special in my grocery store and it's quite good--it has white wine in it!

      1. re: Sophia.

        Its just finely sliced and salted cabbage in a crock with a heavy weight on top placed in a cool place. Skim the surface of the resulting brines every day. Easy.

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          And depending on the size of the crock, make sure you add some white wine. It makes the kraut a little milder,
          In a 40 qt crock I usually add a gallon of white wine.

    2. I've tried to make it-I let it ferment in my basement, and long before it was done, my wife asked, "What's that awful smell permeating our house?" Needless to say I haven't done it again.

      1 Reply
      1. re: martin1026

        There is no way to make it not stink, which is just one of the reasons it was NEVER fermented inside the house if that could be avoided. Buried in the ground, or set in a springhouse or outdoor root cellar, generally - my grandfather, living in a small rental house with neither of those kinds of outbuildings, buried his in a shady part of the yard. My grandma wouldn't touch it, but then her affection for things German pretty much began and ended with the language...

      2. Hey, remember that Sophia likes sauerkruat--like I do--and would put up with that delicious smell as it ferments.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Same here Sam, I help make a wooden barrel of it when I was about 12-13.
          we had a smokehouse that we had it in and we would go out there and get a big hand
          full of that kraut and we had hams and slabs of bacon curing from the rafters. it sure
          brings back memories. How are you Sam?

          1. re: bigjimbray

            I'm great. You and I need to get together! We have a bunch of similar past CH experiences that just need some even better future times.

            s.fujisaka@cgiar.org

        2. I'd love recipes or meal ideas too. I've had a jar in my fridge that I bought months ago --- wait, is it spoiled?? -- and want to use up. thanks!

          1 Reply
          1. re: chuckles

            my favorite sauerkraut meal recipe. Cut bacon in small pieces, render the fat in a pan till you have crispy bacon bits. Make mashed potatoes, mix in bacon (with some of the fat) and mix in the sauerkraut! real simple and mighty tasty!! it's my husbands favorite dish!

          2. thanks so much for the methods and stories! I'm thinking now this could be a project for my parents' basement...my dad has a little wine cellar that stays around 60-65 degrees and even the cat stays out of there. about how long does it have to ferment?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sophia.

              It is well worth making. It takes around 10 days to ferment (depending on temperature).

              It is easy to make and you do not need special equipment. A clean 5 gallon plastic bucket will work great.

              Nothing tastes like homemade kraut.