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Recipe Tue Sep 16 2008

It's a-Kraut Time

Sorry. Couldn't resist that one. Plus, in my recent post on canning, I promised you people a sauerkraut recipe.

This very simple method for making homemade 'kraut was passed on to me by a lovely woman named Rachel, who attended my friend Anna's canning party, Here it is, without further assault on the English language.

First, shred a head of cabbage into very thin strips, either with a knife or a mandoline. If you want your sauerkraut to be flavored, now's the time to slice up garlic (thin slices) or hot peppers (finely diced); and to prep any seasonings you may use, including salt, caraway seeds, and pepper.

For basic 'kraut, shove about an inch-and-a-half or two inches of the shredded cabbage into the bottom of a boiled or dishwasher sterilized quart-sized Ball mason jar. Then sprinkle a pinch (probably about 1-16th of a teaspoon) of salt over the layer of cabbage. With a wooden spoon, compress the cabbage as much as possible. You will repeat this process (two inches of cabbage, sprinkling of salt, compress) until you cannot possibly fit anymore cabbage in the jar. It's going to take way more cabbage than you realize, because as you are salting and compressing the cabbage, it's already starting to break down.

If you want seasonings in your 'kraut, add them at the same time you add the salt. I added two or three thin slices of garlic, a sprinkling of pepper, and a few caraway seeds each time I salted.

Now, here's the fun part: fermenting. As the salt pulls water from the cabbage, the sauerkraut is creating its own brine. Awesome, huh? The key is making sure the cabbage stays completely immersed in the brine. If the salt hasn't pulled enough water from the cabbage to cover the veg, then you may need to add just enough salt water to cover it.

Leave your jar open on your kitchen counter for a few days to develop the sour flavor. You'll need to weigh down the cabbage (for constant compression, so it's always in the brine) with something that fits inside the mouth of the jar. I sterilized a smaller jar and filled it with some rocks to give it weight, then placed that inside the mouth of the larger jar, directly on top of the cabbage. in the morning and at night, for about three days, I pushed down on the smaller jar, further compressing the cabbage. I did place a cheesecloth over my 'kraut to keep fruit flies and molds at bay.

Taste your sauerkraut on the third day. That was sour enough for me. You may want it to be more sour; in that case, leave it on the counter for a few more days. Once it tastes good to you, put the lid on and stick it in the fridge for the next time you crave the 'kraut!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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