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Sauerkraut, Batch #2

Ready to fill jars with kraut.

Ready to fill jars with kraut.

Sauerkraut, batch #2 is ready to eat! First, I’m providing a link to my original sauerkraut post, in case you are interested in the recipe/process:

https://mmmfoodies.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/oh-come-on-make-and-eat-sauerkraut/

The end of the post in this link also includes the beginning of the current batch of sauerkraut. There’s also a link for the end of the first batch and how I prepared a dish utilizing it:

https://mmmfoodies.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/sauerkraut-is-ready-lets-cook-some-brats/

As I noted in the previous post, when I began the current batch, this batch was sliced thinner. It looks really good and is just a few days short of processing for 2 months. I try to make sure that I have enough jars ready ahead of time. I washed and sanitized four 1 qt jars and only needed 3. I also sanitized clean tongs, funnel, lids and rings.

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I packed the jars a little less than full and topped off with remaining juices. Lids were put in place and screwed down finger-tight. Jars went into the back of the refrigerator and will last almost indefinitely. Ready for some keilbasa!!!

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aroma, funk, gut health, health benefits, healthy, scent, update

Oh, Come On! Make and Eat Sauerkraut!

 

Sauerkraut is in this 2 gallon fermentation bucket, in a nice out-of-the-way corner.

Sauerkraut is in this 2 gallon fermentation bucket, in a nice out-of-the-way corner.

What do you mean, you don’t eat sauerkraut?! I know, I know. You eat your hot dogs with different toppings. That’s a New York thing. Yeah, well, me too. I do the Southern thing with mustard, chili, onions and, if I want cabbage, then slaw. I would admit to using ketchup, but that would blow my credibility with the “Foodies” crowd. Anyway, try searching “sauerkraut recipes” online and you’ll find that sauerkraut is NOT just for hot dogs. Also, if you think it’s too salty or too sour, you can give it a rinse in a colander and tone that way down. Personally, I like it pretty much full strength. Either way, you are really missing out on something, if you don’t give sauerkraut a try!

Now, this is my first attempt at fermenting sauerkraut at home. I’ve had it canned (many years ago…yuck! If this was your last experience, you definitely need to try again!), from a jar, and refrigerated from a jar or bag. Of those options, I like the “fresher” stuff from the refrigerated bag. I have been fermenting ciders and beer over the last year and have gotten more comfortable with the concept, so I decided to try making some kraut at home. The added benefit here is the lactobacillus in freshly fermented sauerkraut. It’s good for your gastro-health and immunity…like yogurt. Of course, if you home can the kraut or heat it too much, you take away that benefit, but should still be delicious.

I basically followed the process outlined here: http://www.food-skills-for-self-sufficiency.com/making-sauerkraut.html . I like to give due credit to my sources! The main things I changed concerned the cloth and rubber band cover for the container and the wooden “tamping” board.  Since I’ve been fermenting cider, I have a couple of 2 gallon fermentation buckets and airlocks. These can be purchased very inexpensively at a local home brew shop or ordered online. The benefit is not risking exposure to contamination. I also have a spray bottle of “Star-san” that I use on all my containers and utensils. It is a sanitizer that does not have to be rinsed off. Very convenient.  I don’t have a tamping board, so I sanitized my hands and pounded that cabbage with my bare fist! I feel so macho.

One other thing, I sliced the cabbage by hand, using a chef’s knife. I didn’t feel like preparing and cleaning up after my electric slicer and the mandoline slicer just seemed like it would be too slow. Yeah, mine’s a little coarser than some, but now I know anyone can do it without special equipment. Your welcome!

I didn’t get pictures up to this point, because my camera’s battery was recharging, but I’ll add some to a follow-up post. I think we can all imagine finely sliced cabbage in a bucket. ( And the link has photos.) I started with two fairly large heads of cabbage that weighed a total of about 8 lbs. After processing, I had about 7 lbs. I did need some extra brine to make sure that the cabbage was covered by liquid. I added a sanitized plate and a small canning jar (1/2 pint) on top of that, to weight down the cabbage and keep it submerged. Then I sealed the lid and added the airlock. I have read that the fresh kraut can be kept in a sealed container, in the refrigerator, for a few weeks.  Fermentation is supposed to take 4 to 6 weeks. I’ll check it regularly for mold, to keep it clean. The airlock should tell me when it’s done fermenting. Looking forward to seeing how this goes. I love roasting pork on top of a bed of kraut and letting the juices flavor it! Enjoy!

Okay, update 9/20/14 After a couple of days, there’s not too much to see, but when you lift the lid…ooo-weeee! That’s some funk! There’s no foam or any activity obvious, but the aroma tells a different story. Here’s a look inside the fermentation bucket:

Making Sauerkraut...all the cabbabe is unfer a plate, weighed down with a little canning jar and water.

Making Sauerkraut…all the cabbage is under a plate, weighed down with a little canning jar and water.

Update 10/10/14: So, there hasn’t been any airlock activity to speak of.  I guess the process for sauerkraut just doesn’t really happen fast enough to really see that kind of activity. Anyway, I sanitized around the lid and opened the bucket today to do a progress check. It’s been about 3 weeks and the liquid seems noticeably darker and the smell is pretty strong.

Inside the bucket after 3 weeks.

Inside the bucket after 3 weeks.

I went ahead and sanitized a spoon, removed the jar, and raised the plate to peek inside. The cabbage is a bit paler, but still not the color I associate with kraut. I removed a couple of shreds and resealed the bucket. The sample still has a little crunch to it, but is definitely moving from the very salty cabbage flavor towards the fermented flavor of kraut. The directions said it would take 4-6 weeks. It’s headed in the right direction, but I think this is going to take the full six weeks…and maybe more. This is probably being affected by the fact that I hand-cut the cabbage, instead of using a mandoline or slaw shredding tool. That’s okay, I’m in no rush and I kind of like the rustic look and texture.

Peeking under the weighted plate...coarse sauerkraut at 3 weeks.

Peeking under the weighted plate…coarse sauerkraut at 3 weeks.

Update:3/11/15  Made a newbatch of sauerkraut this morning. I had 1 larger and one smaller head of cabbage that combined weight was about 6 pounds. The two differences with this batch over last batch are that I used a KitchenAid rotary slicer attachment to shred the cabbage, and I have a new “tool” for pounding the cabbage, rather than using my fists!

The attachment that is normally used for fine shredding did notwork well…it was turning the cabbage to mush and very hard to push through. The slicing attachment worked better. And my new “tool” is a baseball bat that my son outgrew. It’s aluminum and has a plastic end. I washed and sanitized it, and it worked very well!

After removing cores and a little waste when I tried the wrong attachment, I wound up with just under 4lbs of cabbage. Will check back in about 4 weeks.

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Eastern North Carolina Style Cole Slaw by Bob Garner

Classic BBQ Sandwich and chips.

Classic BBQ Sandwich and chips.

Growing up in the heart of North Carolina, I was exposed to a lot of pork barbecue. Everybody has their own way of doing it and everyone has their own sauce. But there’s another necessary componant: cole slaw. Whether you’re eating your BBQ on a bun or as a “plate” with hushpuppies or corn bread, you have to have slaw. And there’s about as many recipes for slaw as there are for BBQ sauce. And I’m picky about mine. Oh, I’ll eat some kinds of slaw as a side dish. I’ve even had a pineapple-cole slaw that I liked. But if I’m eating it with or on pork BBQ…or on a hotdog  or with fried fish, for that matter, the recipe that follows is what I want! This recipe comes from a well known authority on North Carolina BBQ and it is spot on! I basically eyeballed my ingredients to make a half batch, because I’m not making it for a crowd. I wound up with enough to fill a two pound deli container. I also used dill pickle cubes instead of sweet, because I don’t keep sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish on hand. It’s still good, though, just not quite as sweet. Enjoy!  

Eastern North Carolina Coleslaw  by Bob Garner 

Half a head of cabbage, cut into pieces.

Half a head of cabbage, cut into pieces.

Bob says:This is my wife Ruthie’s recipe, and it’s typical of the coleslaw that’s served at pig pickings and fish fries along the Roanoke River in Halifax and Martin counties.“

Ingredients

1 medium-size, firm head of cabbage

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/3 cup mustard

3/4 cup sweet pickle cubes

2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Cole slaw dressing.

Cole slaw dressing.

Keep cabbage refrigerated until ready to use, and do not allow it to reach room temperature once you begin. Remove outer leaves and core from cabbage. Cut head in half and grate fine, using food processor or hand grater. (I used the “s” blade and pulsed in the processor.) In large bowl, combine cabbage, mayonnaise, mustard, sweet pickle cubes, vinegar, sugar and seasonings. Mix thoroughly and chill for one hour before serving.

On a bun with pulled pork BBQ and some sauce.

On a bun with pulled pork BBQ and some sauce.

Combined dressing with chopped cabbage.

Combined dressing with chopped cabbage.

Makes 20 servings

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Salted Baked Potatoes and Roasted Cabbage Steaks

How about some salt-baked Yukon Gold Potatoes and some Garlic-Rubbed Cabbage Steaks and maybe some soup?

How about some salt-baked Yukon Gold Potatoes and some Garlic-Rubbed Cabbage Steaks and maybe some soup?

I call this my “Nouveau Irish” combo! You can find the recipe for the Cabbage Steaks on Pinterest…basically it’s 425 degrees for 25 minutes per side. Cut them so that the root holds it all together. Brush both sides with olive oil and garlic that has been run through a garlic press or minced fine. For the potatoes, I can’t remember where I heard about coating them in salt. I’ve been doing it for ever for baked potatoes. I use kosher salt these days, but regular salt works fine. Wash your potatoes and, while still wet, pour a couple of tablespoons of salt in your hand. Roll a potato in your hand until coated. (I know, you waste some salt. So, don’t use your fancy fleur de sel or pink Himalayan salt.) Basic salt is pretty cheap. Repeat with all potatoes. If you are doing large bakers, you can bake at 450 degrees for an hour. If you are doing the cabbage combo, use smaller potatoes, like Yukon Gold or Redskin and heat your oven to 425 degrees. The 50 minutes for the cabbage works out for the potatoes, too.

Salt-Baked Yukon Gold Potatoes and Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage Steaks

Salt-baked Yukon Gold potatoes and Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage Steaks

While you can eat the skins of the traditional bakers (usually Russet) and the salt-roasting makes them better, the smaller ones are REALLY good! I like the cabbage “as is”, but you can drizzle with a little Balsamic vinegar or pepper vinegar. Serve the potatoes with butter and sour cream or your favorite baked potato toppings. (I like salsa on them in the Summer!) If you are a meateater, some corned beef would complete the combo nicely. Enjoy!

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Cabbage, Corn and Bean Soup

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I had some leftover cabbage and wanted to use it somehow. Thinking back a looooooong time ago to when I worked in a restaurant chain, I used to make a simple Burger, Cabbage and Kidney Bean Soup. With that in mind, I came up with a vegetarian soup that is similar, but with a few added ingredients. It starts with simple aromatics and a roux and comes together very quickly. This soup can be made entirely ahead and served later or you can prep the vegetables in advance and store them in the fridge until you want to make the soup. Enjoy!

Cabbage, Corn and Bean Soup

Ingredients:IMAG1709_1

2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 c. Carrots, diced

1/2 c. Celery, diced (2 ribs)

1/3 c. Onion, diced

1-1/2 c. Cabbage, cut into 1”x1” squares

1 large clove Garlic (or 2 smaller), crushed

1 T. Chili Powder

2 T. All Purpose Flour

1 can Corn with liquid

1 can Kidney Beans with liquid

2 c. Vegetable Broth

¼ t. Crushed Red Pepper

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 teaspoon of Maggi seasoning or 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

Directions:

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add raw vegetable, except cabbage, in two minute intervals, sautéing/stirring after each addition, starting with carrots, then celery and onion.IMAG1710

Add chili powder, then stir in flour. Then add the garlic and crushed red pepper. IMAG1712

Continue stirring for a couple more minutes. Add cabbage.IMAG1713 IMAG1714Next, add the corn and beans with their liquids and the vegetable stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add  vinegar and Maggi seasoning or Soy Sauce, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more. Serve hot! Can be cooled, refrigerated and reheated for service the next day and it will be even better! Taste before serving to adjust seasoning. If the cabbage makes the soup too sweet, you can add more vinegar. Another option is the vinegar with the peppers in the bottle, if you like it a little spicier. or  the hot sauce of your choice.

How about some salt-baked Yukon Gold Potatoes and some Garlic-Rubbed Cabbage Steaks to go with that soup?

How about some salt-baked Yukon Gold Potatoes and some Garlic-Rubbed Cabbage Steaks to go with that soup?

Note: This soup could be made non-vegetarian with the addition of some browned hamburger or leftover roasted chicken and you could substitute beef or chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.

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