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Thread: A sauerkraut tip

  1. #1
    Chemiker Guest

    Default A sauerkraut tip

    Has a little epiphany while fighting to keep all the cabbage
    under the brine. I make small batches in 1-3 gallon crocks,
    some of which have shoulders and therefore mouths that
    are smaller in diameter than the crock proper.

    What's a non-carpenter to do? Or even a carpenter,
    if the only wood available is pine or sprue?

    For the unitiated, that's the woodwork you make to
    press the cabbage down. Remember, here the plate
    that fits the crock, won't fit through the mouth.

    The Solution:

    <drum roll here....>

    Take that little folding/collapsible s/s steamer basket, you
    know... the one you can get at the supermarket for a couple
    of USD? THe one you used for brussel sprouts and okra?

    Turn that baby upside down with the leaves partially
    collapsed, insert into the crock mouth, then let the leaves
    expand. The leaves will expand to fit the main crock and hold the
    cabbage in place. Now add your water and any remaining salt.

    Inventive minds may grind away the little feet the
    steamer basket comes with. I just turned a flatbottomed
    side-dish upside down (Corning) and placed it over the
    basket's feet and pushed down. Adjust liquid levels, and
    close up the crock with its lid, towel or what have you.

    Works like a charm! And you can sanitize it in the dishwasher.

    No charge, honestly. Enjoy it without royalty or VAT.

    Alex

  2. #2
    zxcvbob Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    Chemiker wrote:
    > Has a little epiphany while fighting to keep all the cabbage
    > under the brine. I make small batches in 1-3 gallon crocks,
    > some of which have shoulders and therefore mouths that
    > are smaller in diameter than the crock proper.


    I think those are butter churns rather than crocks. The lids are
    usually missing.

    > What's a non-carpenter to do? Or even a carpenter,
    > if the only wood available is pine or sprue?


    You can also use a plastic bag of water to weigh down the cabbage and
    seal out air all at the same time. But use a really sturdy bag so it
    doesn't leak or burst and flood your kraut with water.

    I like your idea of using a steamer basket. You may find that it
    corrodes even tho' it is stainless (because of the acid + salt).

    Bob

  3. #3
    The Joneses Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    "zxcvbob" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > Chemiker wrote:
    >> Has a little epiphany while fighting to keep all the cabbage
    >> under the brine. I make small batches in 1-3 gallon crocks,
    >> some of which have shoulders and therefore mouths that
    >> are smaller in diameter than the crock proper.

    >
    > I think those are butter churns rather than crocks. The lids are usually
    > missing.
    >
    >> What's a non-carpenter to do? Or even a carpenter,
    >> if the only wood available is pine or sprue?

    >
    > You can also use a plastic bag of water to weigh down the cabbage and seal
    > out air all at the same time. But use a really sturdy bag so it doesn't
    > leak or burst and flood your kraut with water.
    >
    > I like your idea of using a steamer basket. You may find that it corrodes
    > even tho' it is stainless (because of the acid + salt).
    >
    > Bob


    Yeehaa Alex, which is Texan fer good thinking. I'd worry over the corrosion
    too. Did you get any?
    One of the preserving books recommends saline filled bags at the same rate
    of your brine, just in case of leaks.
    I love the commercially canned stuff that just a trifle sweet and with them
    thar leetle seeds in it.
    Edrena



  4. #4
    Sqwertz Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    zxcvbob <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I like your idea of using a steamer basket. You may find that it
    > corrodes even tho' it is stainless (because of the acid + salt).


    Yes. It's unwise to use any sort of metal in your sauerkraut crock
    or jar as it will give you unwanted flavors as it slowly
    deteriorates.

    -sw

  5. #5
    Sheldon Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    On Dec 8, 6:01�pm, Chemiker <prussianblu...@verizon.net> wrote:
    >>

    > Take that little folding/collapsible s/s steamer basket, you
    > know... the one you can get at the supermarket for a couple
    > of USD? THe one you used for brussel sprouts and okra?


    I'd not use stainless steel... stainless steel doesn't mean impervious/
    inert, most stainless steels are indeed reactive. Stainless steel
    used to make those steamer thingies is not a very high grade, all
    stainless steels are alloys of various metals, in brine they will
    leach out. those steamer thingies are designed for short term food
    use and certainly not with brine, they will definitely taint your
    kraut with a metalic taste... even expensive designer stainless steel
    pots are not intended for use with pickling solution, brine or acid.
    I see no reason you couldn't go cro magnon... hack out a wooden disk
    to fit and find a rock to hold it down. It's not necessary that the
    disk fit the full diameter, just use a heavier rock so the cabbage is
    submerged a bit deeper. If you're concerned about losing a little
    volume treat yourselt to properly configured crocks, and larger.

  6. #6
    Ross McKay Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    </lurk>

    "zxcvbob" wrote:
    >> You can also use a plastic bag of water to weigh down the cabbage and seal
    >> out air all at the same time. But use a really sturdy bag so it doesn't
    >> leak or burst and flood your kraut with water.


    I often just use a smaller jar, filled with plain water, to sit inside
    the big jar or crock. The closer the fit, the better. The weight of the
    jar keeps the vegetable matter submerged, with just the occasional bits
    floating that need to be picked off and discarded. I then wrap the lot
    in cling-wrap to keep flies and dust out. If the liquid level drops back
    down to the veges again (sometimes in warmer weeks), I top up with a
    little brine.

    That plastic bag idea is brilliant for mashed sweet potato and taro
    ferments. Those things really need air to be excluded, and this is the
    only trick I've found that works.

    Edrena wrote:
    >[...]
    >I love the commercially canned stuff that just a trifle sweet and with them
    >thar leetle seeds in it.


    IMHO, the bestest is the one with a handful or so of juniper berries.
    Just seems to nicely complement the cabbage. Oh, not counting kimchi of
    course, which is so much more interesting than sauerkraut
    --
    Ross McKay, Toronto, NSW Australia
    The planet is in a pickle, but fermenting will help save us

  7. #7
    [email protected] Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    On Mon, 8 Dec 2008 17:34:54 -0700, "The Joneses" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >"
    >I love the commercially canned stuff that just a trifle sweet and with them
    >thar leetle seeds in it.
    >Edrena
    >


    me too me too!! Libby's makes one called Bavarian Sauerkraut. Store
    had a sale and I got 8 cans yum

    snow

  8. #8
    [email protected] Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    On Mon, 08 Dec 2008 17:01:31 -0600, Chemiker
    <[email protected]> wrote:


    >Take that little folding/collapsible s/s steamer basket, you
    >know... the one you can get at the supermarket for a couple
    >of USD? THe one you used for brussel sprouts and okra?
    >
    >Turn that baby upside down with the leaves partially
    >collapsed, insert into the crock mouth, then let the leaves
    >expand. The leaves will expand to fit the main crock and hold the
    >cabbage in place. Now add your water and any remaining salt.



    I'd highly recommend against this.
    Several years ago, I had the *brilliant* idea to use a large stainless
    steel rack to hold my kraut under the brine.
    To make a long story short, it pretty well ruined the flavour of about
    40 lbs. kraut.
    I'll stick to maple slats from now on.

    Ross.

  9. #9
    Wayne Boatwright Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    On Mon 08 Dec 2008 07:51:24p, Ross McKay told us...

    > </lurk>
    >
    > "zxcvbob" wrote:
    >>> You can also use a plastic bag of water to weigh down the cabbage and
    >>> seal out air all at the same time. But use a really sturdy bag so it
    >>> doesn't leak or burst and flood your kraut with water.

    >
    > I often just use a smaller jar, filled with plain water, to sit inside
    > the big jar or crock. The closer the fit, the better. The weight of the
    > jar keeps the vegetable matter submerged, with just the occasional bits
    > floating that need to be picked off and discarded. I then wrap the lot
    > in cling-wrap to keep flies and dust out. If the liquid level drops back
    > down to the veges again (sometimes in warmer weeks), I top up with a
    > little brine.
    >
    > That plastic bag idea is brilliant for mashed sweet potato and taro
    > ferments. Those things really need air to be excluded, and this is the
    > only trick I've found that works.
    >
    > Edrena wrote:
    >>[...]
    >>I love the commercially canned stuff that just a trifle sweet and with
    >>them thar leetle seeds in it.


    I like that stuff, too, Edrena. Usually referred to as "Bavarian Style".


    > IMHO, the bestest is the one with a handful or so of juniper berries.
    > Just seems to nicely complement the cabbage. Oh, not counting kimchi of
    > course, which is so much more interesting than sauerkraut


    I have never made my own sauerkraut, but I almost always add crushed
    juniper berries when I cook it. If I'm out of the berries, a splash of gin
    will do.

    --
    Wayne Boatwright
    (correct the spelling of "geemail" to reply)
    ************************************************** **********************
    Date: Monday, 12(XII)/08(VIII)/08(MMVIII)
    ************************************************** **********************
    Countdown till Christmas Day
    2wks 2dys 2hrs 20mins
    ************************************************** **********************
    42! Is that all you've got to show for 7 and a 1/2 million yrs' work?
    ************************************************** **********************


  10. #10
    Melba's Jammin' Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Chemiker <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Has a little epiphany while fighting to keep all the cabbage
    > under the brine. I make small batches in 1-3 gallon crocks,
    > some of which have shoulders and therefore mouths that
    > are smaller in diameter than the crock proper.
    > Alex


    I thought you just put a brine-filled plastic bag on top of it, although
    Mom had a round wood board that she put on top of the fermenting kraut.
    --
    -Barb, Mother Superior, HOSSSPoJ
    <http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/amytaylor> -- the world can
    learn much about grace from Amy and Warren.

  11. #11
    zxcvbob Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    Melba's Jammin' wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > Chemiker <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Has a little epiphany while fighting to keep all the cabbage
    >> under the brine. I make small batches in 1-3 gallon crocks,
    >> some of which have shoulders and therefore mouths that
    >> are smaller in diameter than the crock proper.
    >> Alex

    >
    > I thought you just put a brine-filled plastic bag on top of it, although
    > Mom had a round wood board that she put on top of the fermenting kraut.



    Dad always put a stoneware plate on top of it, and a jar of water on top
    of that. The plate was not a perfect fit to the crock, it was a little
    small.

    Bob

  12. #12
    Ross McKay Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    On Mon, 08 Dec 2008 17:01:31 -0600, Chemiker wrote:

    >Now add your water and any remaining salt.


    I just spotted this bit. You add water to sauerkraut? Every time I do
    sauerkraut or kimchi, I find that (with maybe one exception) there is
    enough juice in the cabbage so that only cabbage (and other veges), salt
    and spices are needed. What are you doing to it that requires added
    water?
    --
    Ross McKay, Toronto, NSW Australia
    The planet is in a pickle, but fermenting will help save us

  13. #13
    George Shirley Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    Ross McKay wrote:
    > On Mon, 08 Dec 2008 17:01:31 -0600, Chemiker wrote:
    >
    >> Now add your water and any remaining salt.

    >
    > I just spotted this bit. You add water to sauerkraut? Every time I do
    > sauerkraut or kimchi, I find that (with maybe one exception) there is
    > enough juice in the cabbage so that only cabbage (and other veges), salt
    > and spices are needed. What are you doing to it that requires added
    > water?

    I wondered about that too Ross. I've always just put the salt to the
    kraut in waiting and let it go. Makes water on it's own, sort of like
    old men do. <VBG>

    It's gonna be 75F here today, eat your heart out Barb.

  14. #14
    blake murphy Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    On Mon, 08 Dec 2008 17:53:08 -0600, zxcvbob wrote:

    > Chemiker wrote:
    >> Has a little epiphany while fighting to keep all the cabbage
    >> under the brine. I make small batches in 1-3 gallon crocks,
    >> some of which have shoulders and therefore mouths that
    >> are smaller in diameter than the crock proper.

    >
    > I think those are butter churns rather than crocks. The lids are
    > usually missing.
    >
    >> What's a non-carpenter to do? Or even a carpenter,
    >> if the only wood available is pine or sprue?

    >
    > You can also use a plastic bag of water to weigh down the cabbage and
    > seal out air all at the same time. But use a really sturdy bag so it
    > doesn't leak or burst and flood your kraut with water.
    >
    > I like your idea of using a steamer basket. You may find that it
    > corrodes even tho' it is stainless (because of the acid + salt).
    >
    > Bob


    that's what i was thinking also. but i guess steamer baskets are cheap
    enough that you could dedicate one to the task, but wouldn't the corrosion
    'flavor' the kraut after a while?

    your pal,
    blake

  15. #15
    Chemiker Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    Short answer: that's what the hand-me-down recipe card called for.
    "Water to cover.". Tell you what, I'll go out and get some more
    cabbage and start a second crock and compare the two.

    I'll report back the results. If you're right, your right. You cain't
    have any 'pinions 'bout fac's.

    Alex

    Oh, and the salt, based on 3 Tbs/5 lb. Our cabbage heads
    tend to run about 1 lb 2, although I was in an ethnic market
    last week and saw some heads that must have been 9 in
    in diameter, at least. I didnt buy any, but later regretted
    it, because they should have been great for cabbage rolls.


    On Tue, 09 Dec 2008 06:58:28 -0600, George Shirley
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Ross McKay wrote:
    >> On Mon, 08 Dec 2008 17:01:31 -0600, Chemiker wrote:
    >>
    >>> Now add your water and any remaining salt.

    >>
    >> I just spotted this bit. You add water to sauerkraut? Every time I do
    >> sauerkraut or kimchi, I find that (with maybe one exception) there is
    >> enough juice in the cabbage so that only cabbage (and other veges), salt
    >> and spices are needed. What are you doing to it that requires added
    >> water?

    >I wondered about that too Ross. I've always just put the salt to the
    >kraut in waiting and let it go. Makes water on it's own, sort of like
    >old men do. <VBG>


  16. #16
    Geoffrey S. Mendelson Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    blake murphy wrote:
    > that's what i was thinking also. but i guess steamer baskets are cheap
    > enough that you could dedicate one to the task, but wouldn't the corrosion
    > 'flavor' the kraut after a while?


    Don't they make them out of plastic for microwave use?

    Geoff.

    --
    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel [email protected] N3OWJ/4X1GM

  17. #17
    Brian Mailman Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    The Joneses wrote:

    > I love the commercially canned stuff that just a trifle sweet and
    > with them thar leetle seeds in it.


    We were just talking about something similar last week. I haven't seen
    it in a long time (the local Safeway has more and more of less and less,
    even though they've expanded twice in the past 15 years). It's
    saurkraut with peppers and other things in it--more like a sauerkraut
    salad, I guess--the kraut is only about maybe 1/2 the material. I've
    forgotten what it's called.

    B/

  18. #18
    The Joneses Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    "zxcvbob" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:nvn%k.4190$[email protected]..
    > Melba's Jammin' wrote:
    >> In article <v09rj4tmd[email protected]>,
    >> Chemiker <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>> Has a little epiphany while fighting to keep all the cabbage
    >>> under the brine. I make small batches in 1-3 gallon crocks,
    >>> some of which have shoulders and therefore mouths that
    >>> are smaller in diameter than the crock proper.
    >>> Alex

    >>
    >> I thought you just put a brine-filled plastic bag on top of it, although
    >> Mom had a round wood board that she put on top of the fermenting kraut.

    >
    >
    > Dad always put a stoneware plate on top of it, and a jar of water on top
    > of that. The plate was not a perfect fit to the crock, it was a little
    > small.
    >
    > Bob


    Speaking of kimchi, etc., I was thinking how a bamboo steamer basket would
    work? I dunno if it would hold up to repeated long soakings in brine...
    Edrena



  19. #19
    Dave Balderstone Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    In article <[email protected]>, zxcvbob
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > You can also use a plastic bag of water to weigh down the cabbage and
    > seal out air all at the same time. But use a really sturdy bag so it
    > doesn't leak or burst and flood your kraut with water.


    Fill the bag with the kraut brine...

  20. #20
    mrorwell Guest

    Default Re: A sauerkraut tip

    zxcvbob <[email protected]> wrote in news:6q5qb4Fb3jlcU1
    @mid.individual.net:

    > You can also use a plastic bag of water to weigh down the cabbage and
    > seal out air all at the same time. But use a really sturdy bag so it
    > doesn't leak or burst and flood your kraut with water.


    My grandfather made several crocks of kraut every fall for over 50 years.
    Once he discovered sturdy plastic bags, that was the only method he used.



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