Make sauerkraut yourself

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Making sauerkraut itself has a long tradition and was self-evident in the countryside in the 1950s because hardly any household had a freezer. During the warm summer months, fresh vegetables from the garden came to the table. But when the temperature dropped and the gardening season came to an end, you had to feed on what was best conserved. Now the high season for stored turnips and carrots, dried beans, winter hardy kale and home-made sauerkraut began. It is served in the traditional country kitchen for example with mashed potatoes and cured meat. Sauerkraut is also extremely healthy because it contains vitamins A and B and is above all rich in vitamin C.

Sauerkraut: indispensable winter vegetables

"Just go with a plate, widow Bolte in the basement, that they get from the sour coal, a portion, for which they especially raves when he reheated." This is how Wilhelm Busch wrote in 1865 in his famous book "Max and Moritz". In earlier times, a cellar with home-made sauerkraut stood in many cellars, because the preserved cabbage was an important part of the winter diet alongside stored potatoes, onions and carrots. Especially the high vitamin C content protected against deficiency symptoms. Therefore, from the 18th century sauerkraut also became an important provision in shipping, because it had been discovered that the regular consumption of sauerkraut prevented the dreaded scurvy - a vitamin C deficiency disease.

Sauerkraut production in a garden pot

The tradition of making the sauerkraut itself has largely been forgotten today. Its production is actually no more expensive than the boil-in of fresh fruit. If you just want to try it, you can ferment a small portion of white cabbage or pointed cabbage in a jar. Otherwise one uses a so-called earthenware fermenter, which later also serves as a storage container for the finished sauerkraut. The garden pots are available in different sizes, so you can make according to personal needs the appropriate amount of sauerkraut itself.

Cooked sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is white cabbage preserved by lactic acid fermentation. The fermentation process takes four to six weeks, depending on the temperature. The mild-sour-tasting herb is a typical side dish for the hearty cuisine

In order to make sauerkraut yourself, you also need a reamer (available in different sizes), a bowl to catch the planed herb, a cabbage steamer and a stoneware pot, which are available with a volume of between 3 and 50 liters. You also need salt. The cabbages remove the outer, dark green leaves, quarter them and cut out the stalk. Then the desired amount of white cabbage is finely grated with the so-called Krauthobel. If you do not have such a kitchen tool, you can also cut the cabbage into fine strips with a long, sharp kitchen knife. This is usually faster than with a conventional kitchen planer, because the quartered cabbage are a bit too big for this.

Step by step: making sauerkraut yourself

Planed white cabbage

Salting white cabbage

First fill the grated cabbage in layers into the clean fermentation pot (left) and add the salt and spices (right)

Put a layer of grated cabbage about ten centimeters in the thoroughly cleaned fermentation pot and sprinkle with five to ten grams of salt per kilogram of cabbage, depending on your taste. In addition, you can add more spices such as juniper berries, bay leaves or caraway and refine the later sauerkraut before fermentation with a little dry white wine.

White cabbage stomp

Making sauerkraut

Now the cabbage is mashed (left). After 30 minutes rest add more cabbage leaves (right)

With the cabbage rammer, the cabbage layer is now strongly compressed until the juice exits. Then fill in the next portion of cabbage, salt and spices and stomp vigorously again. Work up layer by layer until the pot is four-fifths full. After 30 minutes of rest, so much fluid should have formed that it easily covers the herb. Otherwise you fill it up with brine. Then place a few large cabbage leaves on the mashed herb as a final layer. With the rammer, the leaves are lightly pressed so that they are covered with brine.

Weighting stone Sauerkraut production

Fill the gutter of the garden pot with water

Finally, the cabbage is weighted (left) and the pot edge filled with tap water (right)

Now place the two-part weighting stone on the white cabbage. It generates the pressure required for fermentation.The trough in the pot rim is filled with tap water, then you put the cleaned lid on. The vessel is sealed airtight, but gases can escape. In the coming weeks, the gutter must always be sufficiently filled with water, so that no air can penetrate.

Leave the filled sauerkraut jar at room temperature for three days, then the fermentation should have started. The cabbage must now ferment four to six weeks in a cool but frost-proof place, after which the sauerkraut is ripe and can be prepared in the kitchen. Continue to store the stock in the garden pot in a cool place until it is used up. The fermented lactic acid acts as a preservative and prevents the sauerkraut from spoiling.

Cabbage varieties for sauerkraut production

Harvest cabbage

The outer cabbage leaves are removed before processing

Cabbage varieties, which only ripen in autumn, are ideal for making sauerkraut. They have solid leaves and dense heads that you can plane well. These include, among others, the old variety 'Braunschweiger', which is also under the name 'Brunswijker' in the trade and harvested from September to October. Traditionally, the Swabian pointed cabbage 'Filderkraut' is also processed into sauerkraut. It takes its name from its main growing area, the fertile Filderebene, which is mostly located in the district of Esslingen. The vegetables are milder in flavor than the classic white cabbage. The harvest season begins in early September and lasts until November.

White cabbage Brassica oleracea

Cabbage varieties, which are only harvested in autumn, are particularly suitable for the production of sauerkraut

Cabbage needs nutrient-rich soil

The autumn varieties are preferred in April or May and the young plants are put into the bed by the end of June at the latest. Plan a distance of 60 by 60 centimeters, so that magnificent heads can develop. If they are too close, they are susceptible to diseases. Important for the Starkzehrer is a nutrient-rich, deep soil. White cabbage is a typical root crop, which means you regularly loosen up the soil around the heads to provide good ventilation. Anyone who practices mixed culture can grow potatoes and leeks in the neighboring rows, for example. If the cabbage is ripe, do not let the heads stand too long in the bed, as they can burst otherwise. If the harvest is abundant, you can store the whole cabbage in a dark and cool basement for weeks. It is best to put them individually in old potato nets and hang them up.

Sauerkraut juice gets the intestines going

sauerkraut juice

Sauerkraut juice regenerates the intestinal flora

The healthy sauerkraut juice is obtained by squeezing natural sauerkraut in the juicer. It is ideal for a multi-day cure, if you suffer from gastrointestinal complaints. Even after the end of antibiotic therapy, which often significantly affects the intestinal flora, sauerkraut juice promotes well-being. In addition to the numerous vitamins and minerals, especially the lactic acid bacteria have a positive effect on intestinal health.

Video Board: Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut ~ Complete Process with Results!.

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