Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Making Sauerkraut and Fermented Vegetables

Sauerkraut was a staple in my family for generations. Being of German descent doesn't hurt either. I love Reuben sandwiches with thick layers thinly sliced corned beef and kraut. Or, kielbasa sausages and Bavarian kraut on a cold winter day. Or, even a summer fare of kraut dogs. Nothing makes my taste buds sing like good sauerkraut.

I can remember as a child the stink of fermenting cabbage drifting up through the floor boards of the kitchen because the root cellar was underneath it. My grandmother had two barrels of sauerkraut down there. Think large whiskey barrels up ended with lids. Yes, we ate that much sauerkraut in a year actually she made it twice a year spring and fall.

Is it any wonder that I make sauerkraut fall of every year. It's a no brainer. I prefer fall planting of my cabbages over spring plantings. The cabbage worms are less in the cooler fall months of a growing season. I only do this once a year because I'm the only one in the house that eats it. For all the health benefits this fermented food offers, I can't get Mel to eat it. That may be why...it's healthy. It's like when I switched her from eating commercially grown chickens to chemical free, no antibiotic, hormone free chicken. She couldn't taste the difference, but her body thanked me.

skin and all
My sauerkraut fermenting is a little bit different than most of the standard recipes using salt and cabbage. I'll add one small grated Granny Smith apple and a tablespoon of caraway seeds to every 3 lb mix of shredded cabbage with a tablespoon of salt. It's the way my grandmother did it. It adds a spicy and very mild sweetness to my kraut.It makes Bavarian style kraut easy without adding sugar.

Now the addition of caraway seeds is not only for flavor. Take a look at this...
It makes you wonder why caraway seeds aren't used more in cooking and for general health. It's a anti histamine. It's an antiseptic and disinfectant. Useful for cardiac health. It's an antispasmodic. It's a carminative- reduces gassy stomachs. It's speeds up digestion. It's a diuretic. It's got several other useful benefits too.

Health benefits aside, considering you are eating cabbage, the carminative nature of the addition of caraway seeds in sauerkraut goes without saying. You know the old saying about cabbage and the smell. Smell it for two days when you cook it in your household and you smell it for two days in gaseous bodily emission after eating it. Caraway seeds might not help with the household odors, but the gaseous emissions are held at bay.

I've found that in eating sauerkraut. Although you will smell it during the week long fermenting process, it does not linger as cabbage does.

So all my cabbages are harvested and shredded. Only a couple worms in two of the four heads. They didn't get the chance to eat much before harvesting. Now with the salt added, it will sit for a couple of hours in the bowl to start giving off their juices.
Then I'll mixing in the grated apples and caraway seeds. I'll give it all a vigorous one-handed massage
until it's mixed thoroughly. I'll press and weight it all in my Goodwill found German fermenting crock and let it get happy for a week. It's around the high 60s to mid 70s temp wise here. After a week, I'll taste it. If it meets my satisfaction, I'll water bath can it for 15 minutes in half pint jars. Now it will seal and be shelf stable for several years if I don't eat it all first. A half pint jar will crown four hot dogs, or two Reuben sandwiches. Good gut and stomach filling meals.

So this week it's all about fermented vegetables. In my old upcycled crock, liner from a busted crockpot, I've got s batch of be kim chi fermenting.. But that's another post.

Y'all have a blessed day.

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