Remember yesterday that I told you Mike and I went to Mennonite country and got some vegetables - including five heads of cabbage. Well, you have probably already figured it out - I began the process of making Kraut.
Now, realize that I feel the same way Bridgette did in kindergarten about Kraut. I think it smells bad and cannot even eat the weenies. However, it is one of those dishes that Mike just loves. He has mentioned several times how he could eat it pretty often. So, I bit the bullet and asked my nieces for their recipe and dove into Kraut making this afternoon.
I may have more than one college degree and have been told I am rather smart at times. However, when it comes to making Kraut, I felt like the greenhorn I really am. So, I needed more than just the recipe Becca sent me. Here it is:
1 gallon cabbage (VERY FINELY CHOPPED)
8 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Mix together. Work it. (Press down with palms of hands.) It will make a liquid when you press down. Then, pack Kraut in sterilized jars and put lids on them very loosely. Store in a cool dark place for 21 days. Check on it every 7 days. If it appears dry, mix 1 teaspoon salt in a quart of water and pour over Kraut. At the end of 21 days tighten the lids down and keep in a cool dry place.
There were more instructions like "after you cut the cabbage, don't let it touch metal again," and "store it in a cool, dark place," and "you might want to set it on a towel or piece of cardboard in case it spews out," and "it is going to stink!" However, undaunted, I plunged in.
The problem is, I had no idea what is "very finely chopped." Does that mean minced or does it mean slivered or just what? So, I put in a call to the experts. No answer. I discussed it with Mike and he said he had no idea. So, I just began to chop, chop, chop. I mixed up one batch and Mike helped me to put it into the jars. What a messy job that was! We had Kraut all over the place! Plus, it didn't seem to have enough liquid to me.
Finally, one of the nieces called and I confessed that I had sent them photos and pleaded with them to please check out my work and give feedback. After a bit, I could hear mutterings and both nieces said it looked fine but maybe I needed to "work it" a bit more. They suggested that I mash it around in the jar with a wooden or plastic spoon. So, I did.
That seemed to make it more slushy and I decided that must have been the ticket. So, I plunged in a little deeper. I wound up making three batches - nine quart jars of Kraut.
Chunking the cabbage to get ready to chop it.
Chopped cabbage pieces for Kraut
Looking down into one of the jars before I mashed it around with the spoon.
First batch of Kraut
After smushing with a spoon
I have set all nine jars on an old towel that is set on the top of a plastic storage tub. They are stored in the dark basement storage room. I've marked the calendar so that I will be reminded to check the Kraut in seven days. (Do you think I will wait that long? I don't!)
We shall see what this adventure brings. The things we do for love...