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Fermented Sauerkraut (or Thanks, Chowhounds)

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Thanks Chowhounds!

A while ago I was interested in fermented foods.I looked around and found this thread on Chow": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/860070 I was inspired and hinted to my wife I'd like to try some fermented sauerkraut. My wife lived in Germany a few years ago and she loves sauerkraut, usually plain but sometimes with wine, apples and such. We'd been buying store sauerkraut for a while but she was unsatisfied.

A few weeks ago I finally got her to get some canning jars. I had a few airocks from beer brewing when I was younger. Last week we mixed up some sauerkraut in a big bowl and stuffed it in one of the canning jars. I used the meat plunger from the mixer's meat grinder to squish it into the jar. I added a glass weight and screwed on the lid and plunked in the airlock. We put it in a warm place and shortly the airlock innards began to float over the central tube on the CO2 cushion. After seven days, the CO2 stopped floating the center and we stuck it into the fridge.

That was two days ago. Today we had it with bratwurst for lunch. 'Best sauerkraut I ever had," she said. "Not to sour -- just right," along with a big smile on her face!

I would probably not have tried it without the positive words here. Thanks, all! Oh, and ginger carrots are next...

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  1. There are some "dedicated" pickling jars with airlocks available here:

    http://www.pickl-it.com/

    I haven't yet tried them, but am looking forward to similar joyful noshing :

    )

    also, btw, FireflyKitchens.com has some good procedures and recipes on their website. (And absolutely amazing sauerkrauts)

    3 Replies
    1. re: axial

      Yes, I may get some pickl-it jars some day, but it was far cheaper to use the canning jars and the airlocks I already had.

      Thanks for the firefly link!

      1. re: travelerjjm

        ooops, I meant to ask how you had attached the airlocks to the canning lids, travelerjim -- my DIY skills would extend to (or rather, having hubby) drill a hole and goop some sort of silicon glue around to attach the locks, but that seems suspiciously too easy, and rife with potential for jagged edges and fingertip disaster for moi.

        1. re: axial

          I drilled a hole in the center of the lid. At first I used a rubber grommet in the hole, but the ones I got were pretty flimsy and I ruined it. So I used a drilled rubber stopper I use when I made beer. That worked great. No rough edges. I was considering silicone, but I wanted to ensure I used food grade and I don't have any. (It is easy to get at Amazon, among other places.)

    2. Terrific!

      Please continue to share as you experiment with new recipes.

      9 Replies
      1. re: meatn3

        A propos new recipes, I can recommend sourkraut made with champagne, like they do in Strasbourg.

        1. re: Joebob

          So do I just pour it over the cabbage, or is there something special to do?

          1. re: travelerjjm

            Sorry, I'm not sure. I've only eaten it, never made it. An Alsacian Reisling works well too.

          2. re: Joebob

            I just want to be clear Joebob is talking about preparing a dish with sauerkraut and champagne, not fermenting sauerkraut with champagne (that would interfere with the fermentation).

            It's really nothing new. I add a half bottle of Dr. Loosen Riesling (that I buy at TJ's for $11) everytime I make choucroute -- which is really just stewed sauerkraut, sliced apples, sausages/smoked meats and juniper berries. God, I love it. I had it a hundred times in Alsace and prefer the one I make at home.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              Yeah-it's braising the sauerkraut in Alsatian wine, or champagne, if you prefer a fancy stew (leftover champagne would be a good way to do it). Don't forget lotsa lotsa onion. And being from southeast Asia I sometimes sneak in red chilli pepper to give it an extra zing...:)

              1. re: roro808

                I know you roro. You "sneak" red chilli pepper into EVERYTHING.

                As mentioned above, IMO juniper berries are a key ingredient. Do you agree maria lorraine?

                1. re: Joebob

                  Just a little bit, Joebob, just a little for the zing. Like putting a light lipstick to an already beautiful woman...

                  1. re: roro808

                    So the idea is, instead of black pepper, red chilli pepper will do the job... :) Just a touch will do.

                  2. re: Joebob

                    Absolutely. Juniper berries add a signature touch that says choucroute. They add a refreshing piney, citrus-y, fresh, slightly menthol component to choucroute and whatever else they're in. When I make choucroute, I try to make every ingredient special -- a great assortment of sausages and smoked pork, great apples, gourmet sauerkraut, good potatoes, good wine, broth, good quality juniper berries, bay leaf, etc. It's such a stunning dish -- I make it in the pressure cooker.

          3. Great story. One of my favorite dishes is choucroute, made well. Lots of juniper berries and fresh sauerkraut.

            2 Replies
            1. re: maria lorraine

              Choucroute is best eaten the next day when the sauerkraut blended with the sausages overnight... lots of juniper and whole peppercorn.... and eaten with brown mustard and horseradish sauce.. yum yum

              1. re: roro808

                Sounds wonderful. I do have juniper berries for another sauerkraut recipe...

            2. I came across a recipe for Hot Pink Jalapeno Garlic Kraut:

              http://nourishedkitchen.com/hot-pink-...

              Might be (visually) nice for Valentines Day!
              Perhaps a jar as a gift but something less pungent for the shared meal!

              1. I'm all for juniper berries (double ditto for the gin, too <g>

                I just came across a description of a spice called "grains of paradise".

                Anybody ever tried it in sauerkraut?

                Good description here: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/sp...