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Question re: making sauerkraut


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I want to make homemade sauerkraut because it's a good probiotic full of vitamin C. I'm ready to go with a recipe and large jar, but I'll be shredding 20 pounds of cabbage per the Ball Canning Book instructions. First of all, has anyone here made their own homemade sauerkraut before and if so, what is the best tool to use for shredding it finely and evenly without using electricity?

 

If you use a mandolin, please suggest a good one for me because when I search online I find the less expensive ones have poor reviews, whereas the high cost ones ($400) have rave reviews. I can't afford to pay that much. Thanks for your help. :thumbs:

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I use a REALLY good knife. Old Hickory. :)

 

20# is ALOT of cabbage. You're gonna need more than a large jar...probably buckets. :faint3:

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I have used a sharp, long knife with concentration to cut narrow shavings. Or I've used my 'salad shooter' type device.

 

Don't forget to pound...to make the slivers of cabbage seep. I got a short handled wooden pounder from a Korean market. [kim chee is their national specialty]

 

MtRider [...just received some cabbage and have the same idea in mind! :yum3: ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Ive used a sharp knife, with practice it is quite fast. And one of my favorite buys from the local thrift shop was a wood and metal kraut cutter (looks like a cutting board, with sides and several sharp blades in the middle). The blade was removable, all I did was take it out and have it sharpened. But I like my Feemster's Cutter the best - basically a blade set on a metal frame, with an adjustable guide for thickness of cut. It works fastest and was very reasonably priced. They are 7.95 at Lehman's and VERY sharp. Use them like a mandoline. Mine has been going strong for 20 years, my mothers even longer! Unfortunately I cant copy their photo of it....

 

www.lehmans.com/store/Kitchen___Helpers_and_Accessories... - Cached

 

Feemster’s Famous Vegetable Slicer

$7.95 In Stock

SKU: 622900

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Excellent for potatoes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, more. •Calibrated to make perfectly uniform cuts from 1/8" to 1/2" thick

•Great for dehydrating, scallops, potato chips, etc.

•Super-sharp carbon steel blade

•Mounted in a convenient steel and aluminum frame

•7-1/2"L x 3"H

•3-1/2"W blade

•Made in India

 

The same thing is $9.99 from Walter Drake.

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Yep, thats the one. Cheap and works like a charm. Dont let children handle it though, it is sharp as can be!!! Ive cut myself enough with it to know.

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I have used all those ways to cut cabbage for Kraut, even making huge crocks full using an old wooden Kraut cutter, and still prefer using a sharp knife as it being much easier and faster to clean up after. Once you get some practice you will be able to cut the cabbage evenly.

 

I make a fresh kraut in jars for the refrigerator and our whole family really likes it. I simply layer the shredded/cut cabbage (and other vegetables too) in wide mouth quart jars with a very small amount of sea salt sprinkled between layers, two to three teaspoons per jar. I pound the vegetables well into the jars using a wooden pounder made for that but you can use the thick handle of a utensil if needed. The idea is just to get some juice coming out. I use small juice glasses to set on top of the vegetables inside the jars to keep the product down in the liquid and then set them on a tray (they might foam up some) right on the counter for three or four days. By the second day you will see some bubbling. That is the natural culture working. On the third day I taste it. It is usually mild and a bit sweet tasting depending on the cabbage or other vegetables used. Sometimes I leave it another day if I want it a bit stronger. I then put regular canning jar lids on the jars in place of the glasses and put them into the refrigerator.

 

Storing them in the refrigerator this way will give you the important live culture you are looking for but will still give a fresh, crunchy taste to the product. It also takes the guess work out of trying to find a cool place (or one that doesn't freeze)for storage in our over-heated (basementless) home. They will keep for several months in the frig, getting a bit more kraut tasting as they go along but still very fresh tasting. I like to use this as a condiment almost daily, a couple of tablespoons at a time.

 

It really isn't difficult to make a jar or three at a time this way and if you do happen to have an ideal place to put a 'crock' of kraut, the same area would more than likely store the cabbage itself to make the fresh kraut and to have the cabbage on hand for other uses too.

 

I've made this cultured product out of a variety of vegetables and find all of them tasty. Some, like cucumbers, get very juicy but I've found the juice even to be tasty, especially mixed in with other juices. That way I've managed to save the culture found in the juice as well as the veggie. I haven't tried beets yet (nor turnips, kohlrabi, and a few others) but I'm thinking about it. :)

 

(( MtR, can you tell us what is in Kim Chee and how to make it? Or the link to it as I believe you might have listed that before?))

 

Good luck with your Kraut, Teaberry. Let us know how yours turns out.

:bighug2:

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  • 2 weeks later...

A warm thanks to each one of you! :bighug2: It never occurred to me to make the kraut in smaller batches, but that's a very good idea. By the time everyone weighed in I had already used my food processor to shred about 20 pounds worth so I'll see how it goes. I know you're supposed to keep an eye on the kraut every day and skim off any scum on the top. Can anyone here tell me what the scum is supposed to look like? I'm asking because I'm seeing clusters of bubbles in spots and the overall brine looks cloudy, but I'm not sure I'm seeing anything scummy yet.

 

I hope I don't see this! :wormie2:

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