Last year I made a massive load of saurkraut in a specialised crock that was 20litres....I dont have access to that vessel anymore and so will use large jars for the next batch I intend to make.
What are peoples experiences in using jars for the first stages of saurkraut, and what do they use to cover the top i.e to stop bugs etc getting in? I was thinking a piece of thin material might suffice? My understanding is you need the saurkraut to release its gases and so it wouldnt be a good idea to have a screw on lid as the gas wouldnt be able to escape!
Be good to hear of experiences where people have substituted the expensive crocks for something more homemade.
I got a beautiful kraut vessle from Koanga Institute last year, and made a huge amount of saurkraut in it, but my mother just uses glass jars with the rubber seal and flip top lid - and makes small batches on the kitchen countertop - delish!!!
I don't think you need anything super expensive if you want to put a weight on top - just a stone or brick (I would scrub it first, then put it through a hot dishwasher wash to clear off any bugs which might think about remaining. Then it's your choice if you want to wrap it in cloth or not.
*Pops off to find expensive crock and give it a damn good cleaning before making up the next batch.
All the best
We (Germans!!! lol) use a 20 liter plastic bucket. We cover the kraut with a plastic bag we fill with water. This sits on top of the kraut. It allows to release any fermentation gases and also adds some pressure onto the kraut. It basically works like a one way valve.
German friends wife used to put into an ordinary jam jar. She put glad wrap and then the lid on top.
can you make sourkraut from red cabbages?
We've made kraut from thinly sliced cabbages of all varieties, grated carrot, broccoli stem, onion, red peppers, cucumbers or whatever. Having a combination of vegetables in there really makes it taste wonderful - we also put a wee dash of sesame oil on top just as you're serving it - makes it's own dressing and is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoo delish!!
Best way is to use your favorite crunchy veg, whey from your home made yogurt or keffir, and natural salt. It doesn't always have to be expensive to eat healthy food.
Red cabbage colours the mixture a delightful pink, Beetroot makes it dark red, carrots add an orange colour to the brine... lol, go figure eh?
oh cheers for input! tara i was using the exact same vessel as you last year and possibly sent you yours he he. THey are great and i wish i had one but bit too expensive and fragile...look fab thou. like the german idea with the plastic bag, im guessing the gas can just sneak out the side of the plastic bag? youd be hoping the bag didnt split...perhaps you could double bag just to be safe....the more ways we can discover how to do this the better, likewise with a lot of the other ferments : ).
With the little 1, 1.5 and 2 litre jars that you can get at the supermarket, they do somehow let enough of the gas out so that it doesn't 'pop' too much when you open them... We just keep the lid on till you can see that it's stopped bubbling - then put into the fridge.
lol - I went to one of Kay's courses (ok, 2) last March and snaffled one before they were even unpacked properly. It's too big for day to day use, but will make a brilliant pickle jar!!!
Hiya -- small world, just met you in person two days ago at the hui and now I see you set up this forum here (thanks!). I notice this discussion is a year old and maybe more info is not needed now but ... I started out fermenting kraut in old Temuka casserole dishes I picked up cheap at the op shops. I like ceramics, and they are the right shape, completely straight-sided. Easy enough to find a plate while you're at the op shop that fits inside, which I then weight down, usually with a large jar or bottle filled with water. That keeps the kraut underneath the brine so the anaerobic ferment can do its thing and mould build up on the surface is kept to a minimum. I know of the plastic bag method (handy if you're fermenting in jars) but don't like my food and plastic mixing. But if one did use them, fill the bags with brine -- that way if they do leak or split, it's no problem for the kraut. When I use Agee jars, I find another glass jar (eg jam jar) that just fits inside -- and pop that on top, filled with water, again to keep the vegetable under the brine. Then I simply drape some cheesecloth over the whole thing to keep flies and dust out. I've never had an issue with gas building up under a sealed lid, at least not to a dangerous or bothersome level. (Never with the vegie ferments, only with beet kvass or fermented ginger ale.)
Pretty much everything I learnt about krauts and kimchi etc comes from Sandor Katz. I find Wild Fermentation far more useful than the fermenting instructions in Nourishing Traditions (it is just SO not necessary to add whey to EVERYTHING).
I see that some one has said it but I will repeat it. My mother used to make sauerkraut using a plastic bucket. After I dropped and broke a pottery vessel brought from Germany. She said it made fair kraut not as good as the crock. I will try looking out her recipe it may take some time and may be in German a language that I was never allowed to learn. She also had a special board with very sharp knifes in it to shred the cabbage. Must find out where they went.
I am happy to translate it for you if you want.
I believe the stoneware pots keep the kraut cooler which makes a difference. The tool is called a "krauthobel" which would translate into "Cabbage planer". It is a type of a mandolin slicer for cabbages. Every farmer family had one. Now they are as rare as hens teeth.
I have to admit that this discussion got me all enthused, so this morning I've been shredding red cabbage, then grating carrot and broccoli stems. It's all been 'massaged' with salt and whey, and is now standing proudly on my kitchen counter in a lovely glass jar doing it's 'thing'
In 4 - 6 days I'll have beautiful fresh pickled vegetables to have with my lunch.
You know, it's funny, if I talk about my kraut that I make, nobody is interested in trying it - if I serve it as "European coleslaw" everbody raves!!! A few do put two and two together, but for the most part those that come over for lunch don't bother asking anymore...lol
Otherwise I've got yogurt on the go, and chicken broth simmering - so it's going to be a good food week!
I know what you mean...i serve up my kraut with a meal and people do think its coleslaw lol. i think the word fermented seems to put some people off....most of the time when i serve it up with meals, people cant get enough of it and it confirms to me that the human body knows whats good for it. people i thought wouldnt like, how into it, and i have to tell them to take it easy. if your body isnt used to eating foods so high in micro-organisms then it can have a die-off effect., though non of my participants have experienced this yet.