Thursday, November 3, 2011

Canning the Kraut

Apparently my first attempt at making sauerkraut was successful. Along the way there were a couple of surprises. The first was that it didn't stink. What a relief. I think the method of covering it with plastic wrap had something to do with that. When I'd check on its progress I always did a sniff test and while it developed a "vegetably" fragrance it wasn't offensive. You could only smell it if you stuck your nose right in the crock.

The second surprise was that it was done fermenting long before I expected it to be. I was figuring on a four week process. Somewhere in week three I read something to the effect of "it's done when it stops bubbling." I hadn't noticed mine bubbling for several days at least so I decided to go ahead and put it away.

Freezing didn't seem like a good idea and the refrigerator was way too full at the time so I opted for canning it using the boiling water bath method. The entire batch fit nicely in four pint jars. During the canning I could definitely smell it but didn't think much of it. Soon after I was done the Co-conspirator came home and announced that the kitchen smelled like an outhouse.

Earlier this year I did a fun little "dream home" exercise where I listed on paper all the things I'd like to have as part of my ideal home. One feature is a summer kitchen--an outdoor, covered but unenclosed cooking area. There we could can away to our hearts' content without steaming up the house in the heat of July, fry fish and can sauerkraut without stinking up the place, and share the "external benefits" of our cooking adventures more with our neighbors.

2 Responses:

Alyssa said...

Hello! I was recently turned on to your blog by your friend Mark Evans. By the looks of your posts you and I travel in the same circles. I'm enjoying your blog, thanks! I have been making sauerkraut for a few years now and wanted to offer that you not discount freezing it. I used to can mine as well until I realized that much of the wonderful health benefits of eating fermented food gets lost when we heat it for canning. I switched to freezing and it's fabulous. No worries about the texture being effected. It tastes just as good thawed as it does canned and you retain the wonderful bacteria that worked so hard to create the kraut. Freezer space I guess would be the only factor. I look forward to reading more!

Shady Character said...

Welcome, Alyssa and thanks for the comments! We are not big sauerkraut eaters but I'm almost pathologically compelled to try things that are so low-cost, low-tech I can't help myself. In the process I was reminded how much I like it. I think I was diverted from the freezing option by my web browsing but I'll give it a try next time. I suppose it's entirely possible I'll be doing another batch before the winter is over. Next stop: fermenting other veggies!