Sunday, September 27, 2009

Making Sauerkraut...and Memories

Making sauerkraut is a tradition that we started when Jon inherited his family kraut cutter. It is really old, but works great, Jon keeps it well maintained. We make it most every year. Once in a while we skip a year, like when Jon thinks its a good idea to fill the 20 gallon crock to the top, and we have more than enough to last. The first year we made it we cut the cabbage in the dining room, I'm here to tell you that was not~nor will it ever be repeated, what a mess! We make it Labor Day weekend.
We bought cabbage from a local family owned garden. Ours did not do well in our garden. We used 110 lbs of cabbage.
Jon and Willy tear off the outer leaves, wash, quarter and core the cabbage. Then the cutting starts, everyone takes a turn~except for me. Jon and the kids that are home or come home for the event took turns doing the different stages at different times. For the sake of orderliness I put the pictures in the order of operation not how they actually happened so you can get a good idea of how the system works.
Avery did the lions share of the cutting this year.Grace at the cutter.J.J. vocalizing as he cuts. I was a bit creeped out having him be shirtless, then Jon reminded me that back in the old days they stomped it with their feet and the fermentation would kill anything anyway so take a chill pill:)My next concern was how low Willy put his arm when he was at the cutter, this one Jonny sided with me. Jon was really the last to cut, he's good at using up the last of the cabbage and not shaving off pieces of the oak presser. When one of the kids do shave off some oak presser board into the cabbage they just use the "it adds flavor" line.This honestly was about all I did. I just wanted to have my hands in it a little, so Willy let me give him a weighing lesson. We weigh out 5 lbs of cabbage.And then I direct the sprinkling in of 3 tablespoons of canning salt. That really was all I did, well almost, I went and laid on the couch for awhile and some kid with the camera came in and took a picture of me, and reminded me "this is a memory too"!Grace was the mixer in charge, she does a good job of getting the salt and cabbage all incorporated well. She also does a good job of keeping the boys in check when they take over for her while she was off dabbling in other jobs. J.J. stomping...with his shirt on:) We let it get about 4 inches of cabbage on the bottom before the stomping starts, you could break or crack the crock if your not careful. We don't stomp to hard, just enough to bruise the cabbage and create a nice amount of juice.Once it is all stomped, with a nice amount of juice coming up, we tuck in 2 Curity cotton diapers, not the pre-folded kind. We learned the best way to keep it covered is to fill and industrial garbage bag with about 3 gallons of water and then tie strap it shut. Its done when its done, it all depends on the weather. We keep the crock in the garage where it is cool and it cures a bit slower, we think that helps keep it crisp. I'll let you know when its done. Then comes the job of canning all of it...and making more memories.

10 comments:

Brenda said...

Very neat memory! The last time I made kraut with Grandma, it was with a new recipe. It ferments in the jar for 10 days then it's canned. I like it the old way better. And we used my food processor instead of the kraut cutter. It's faster and safer. And then it broke. The kraut cutter will never break. We didn't have all the good helpers that you do!

Tami said...

So that is how it's done. All those years of your making kraut, and I finally understand the process. I'll have to time a visit for krauting one year. It looks like fun. (And would go over better than the fair with my kiddos--at least The General;).

Helvey Happenings said...

I miss kraut making. We'll have to get Elijah in on it one of these years... not too soon, he would want to cut.

Helvey Happenings said...

Um... and, where is the picture of you on the couch?

Oz Girl said...

What an interesting post... I never would have known that fermenting kills any germs. I guess I'm still creeped out by stomping on it, but I'll trust that the fermentation kills the germs. LOL

Cowgirl Goods said...

YUM! Now that's the way to make it! Do you ship?

StitchinByTheLake said...

Jody I've never seen kraut being made. I always thought it had vinegar in it! Blessings, marlene

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

This one was new for me! I love kraut, though! C.

Jody Blue said...

Brenda-they are great workers and will carry on this family tradition!
Tami-look forward to the day.
Randi-oh you know you were very missed! I'll e-mail you that pic, its non to flattering;)
Oz- we have never foot stomped, no need to with the size of stomper we have!
Cowgirl-depends if its a good batch:) its a pride thing and we only share if its top knotch, time will tell!
M-cabbage, salt, and muscle!
C-Have you ever had homemade?

Dawn Fisher said...

this is AWESOME!! I love team work, especially when its with the people i love the most! I'm going to think about growing cabbage next year..i just love sauerkraut!