Posts Tagged ‘sauerkraut’

Unveiling the Sauerkraut

March 5, 2011

Two  years ago, I attempted making  sauerkraut  (see April 27, 2010 entry).  The real stuff, not poured out of the jar I bought at the grocery store. I had a book called Putting Foods By,

Putting Foods By

 that had a brief and easy looking recipe to make your own. It seemed  a very scientific, no-nonsense approach to working in your kitchen preserving food. Everything happening in those canning jars could be traced to a step you took along the way. If you follow the instructions, you are going to be happy (and not sick) come the next year when you open those food containers.  My original sauerkraut results were  okay for a first attempt.  Even though the texture was very similar it didn’t taste like what I imagined it would  taste like.  There really was no bite. No tang. No Sauer likeness.

 Researching for any improvements I could make, I found out there was a  woman in Ohio, who is famous for her sauerkraut. Known as The Sauerkraut Lady,  she was appearing at  Lehman’s.  For those of you who don’t know, Lehman’s is a great store serving the Amish Community, who mainly rely on handmade, homemade way of life. I wanted a fresh  approach to what I was going to put in the jar.  So I recruited my Mom, my sister Fran and we went to Kidron, Ohio. I met the Sauerkraut Lady and learned plenty and tasted even more of her demo’s she had brought. I was too ashamed to show her what I made after tasting hers. I went home with a better understanding of what sauerkraut could taste like.  That’s when I switched recipe books to a new one I had found on Amazon, called Wild Fermentation.

Wild Fermentation

Very encouraging, even inspirational in his approach, I read his instructions over and over.   After reading Wild Fermentation I tucked it up under my arm, channeled the Sauerkraut Lady and made a second batch.

First batch.

neatly finished and stacked up

 

 Second batch.

Weighted top of sauerkraut

Ugh, are you sure this is right, my first batch never looked like this.

Under the weighted bag

 

Or smelled like this. Or made my house smell like this.

But the cucumbers I embedded in the cabbage before it was fermented did turn out firm, tangy, (really tangy).

pickles are the dark green in the middle of the kraut

So as long as I don’t get  sick tonight ( I only ate a mouth full) I may have been successful.

Thank you Sauerkraut Lady and Wild Fermentation guy. And Lehman’s, in Kidron Ohio.

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The sauerkraut lady

April 27, 2010
Deborah Geiser, Lehman’s Kidron, Ohio

was at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio when Mom, my sister Fran and I made our  memorable trip. The trip that promises to change the face of my newest love, sauerkraut. 

 How could  I improve my first attempt to make  sauerkraut? 

 The answers came from  Deborah Geiser who is one of three co-owners of  Pioneer Farm in Apple Creek Ohio. She made a special appearance on Saturday to describe the makings of and benefits from eating sauerkraut.  The visit was  much more than I had hoped for. Deborah  was funny, very approachable, warm and  a Chef to boot.  The best part,  she knew what I needed to do differently to make my sauerkraut better.  She gave away samples of her sauerkraut. Which I compared to mine, hers ~ Yummy, tangy, full of flavor, toothsome  strands of homemade honest to goodness sauerkraut, mine~ limp, mild, no tang, bland but salty.  In a word, lame.

The two things I picked up from our visit were;

1.  Beat it down more.  When you think it’s enough, it’s not,  beat  it down more.  She means beating it until all the juices were out of the cabbage and into the  container. Enough  to produce enough liquid to cover its self all the cabbage by about an inch.  My mistake was expecting the brine of salty water to do the work of the cabbage juices.  I sorta lightly squashing it to make a little room, just a pat compared to her instructions.

2.  Ferment longer.  Turns out, I didn’t let my kraut ferment long enough. Her family put it into the pot to sit (and work) in August, not touching it until New Years. I put mine in the pot, let it sit a few weeks, then canned it.  Whoops,  I clearly was taking it out too soon.

I am looking forward to August this year when I will attempt another round of kraut making.

But until New Years of 2011, we will be eating the lame stuff.

For more information about Sauerkraut making or to contact Deborah you can  visit Http://www.pioneerfarm.net