Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fervent ferment

Ten weeks since we put the cabbage in the crock.  My Ball's Blue Book, the holy bible of canning, says this fermentation thing should only take three to six weeks.  Moose muffins.

At three weeks, I tasted the kraut, and it tasted like soggy cabbage.  At six weeks, it tasted like slightly tangy soggy cabbage.  At eight weeks I could taste the sauer, modestly strong, but the cabbage flavor was still green and crisp.

Finally this morning I said, 'enough is enough.'  The five-gallon crock had been sitting on my counter for ten weeks.  My large canning pot had been hulking in my kitchen, sitting idle on the stove since my batch of plum jelly in late September.  Ready or not, it was time to can the kraut.

I emptied the contents of the crock into a large stock pot, and brought it to simmer.

I filled hot jars with hot kraut, and gave it a boiling 15-minute bath.  Nine pints and six half-pints, about 1-1/2 gallons total.  Now I know that one medium-sized cabbage will make 1-1/2 pints of sauerkraut, when all is said and done.

Hubby tasted the results, and gave it a thumbs-up.  I was too afraid to try it, myself.  I don't know what I would have done if it had been awful.  Much better to have the hubby be the guinea pig.

My first ever batch of sauerkraut!  I feel my German heritage beaming at me, clinking large steins of frothy bier in my honor.  It's Oktoberfest in western Minnesota, loud and strong.  Maybe I'll make Bavarian pork hocks for supper tomorrow.  Served with a heaping pile of mashed kartoffeln and home-made kraut.


Mama Pea said...

These two strong Germans are coming for dinner tonight. We'll bring the bock beer. And an apple pie for dessert.

Karen said...

What frickin' German heritage are you talking about, oh Dutch girl??? Not from either side that I am aware of!!! So, put away that kraut and pull out .... I don't know... something "dutch-ish"!!!

Anonymous said...

According to Joyce, Boley was originally spelled with an e at the end, which would have made the name German rather than English as we have always been told. So, Josie might be right!


Karen said...

Really? German with an "e"? Wouldn't Mom have known about that? She's always said she's English! I don't want to be German...hate their food! Keep your kraut to yourself, Jo!!!

Jo said...

Mama Pea -- Yes, please!

K&K -- Yes, Mom always said she was English, but she's also part German. Not sure if Uncle Henry told me that, or if I got it from researching our ancestors several years ago. At the very least, Dad's 1/4 Austrian! That's close enough!