Sauerkraut grating against the winter blues


I have to admit, trading off East-Westphalia against Switzerland as my home base was a very good decision. We have the mountains to go hiking and skiing, the lakes to swim in, green hills with beautiful, browsing brown cows and thanks to the almost Mediterranean climate figs and palm trees in the garden. The Ticino with all its culinary delights is  close by. For the flat Senne and its culinary highlights such as “Wurstebrei” or “Pfefferpotthast” it is indeed hard to compete 😉

However, every year, in the beginning of November, the fog covers our lake and sometimes we don’t see the sun for weeks. It’s the time when I remember our “Sauerkraut”- nights in Hövelhof and I even get a little homesick… Our neighbours used to buy huge amounts of cabbage and we would be several families meeting up on the terrace of Luise and Klaus. The men grated the cabbage, while we women pounded the Kraut in the clay pots until we got warm! We rewarded ourselves with Korn, a westphalian liquor and the world seemed to be just fine… Dear Luise, dear Klaus, I think of you and our Sauerkraut-Nights very often! And this year I decided to make Sauerkraut again, all on my own.

Digged out the small (6l) Sauerkraut pot, bought 8kg cabbage and tried to grate it with a security glove on my ordinary mandolin slicer. This didn´t work so well, so I had the idea to use my cutting machine, which was the perfect solution! I finely sliced the Kraut and together with 16-20 gr of salt/kilo and some juniper berries I pounded it. With this small portions the Kraut can also be worked with the hands until liquids comes out and foam appears. Then the Kraut can be filled in the pot and it needs to be firmly pressed to the bottom (you might want to load a plate or a board on top to make sure the Kraut is always covered with liquid. Pour some water in the edge of the pot and close it with the lid, so the Kraut is air-tight.

The pot should be stored in a cool room (18-20°C is fine). I kept it in the guest toilet, the basement, garage or garden house works just as well. The cooler the temperature, the longer the fermentation takes. Once it started it takes about six weeks until the Sauerkraut can be enjoyed. During the fermentation process, liquid rises and it could happen that it spills a bit. Once in a while I cleaned the edge of the pot and poured in fresh water to keep the Kraut air-tight. As soon as the fermentation has stopped (no air bubbles to be seen any longer) the Sauerkraut is ready. You can keep it in the pot and take out the portions you need. I vacuum it and keep it cool instead.

I also tried out a version for smaller portions and in case you do not have a Sauerkraut pot:

Fill the pounded Kraut directly into clean preserving jars. Cover it tightly with cling film and close the lid. Let it ferment in a bowl, since during the fermentation liquid might spill. Don´t open it during the process! The glasses look fine, but I haven’t tried the Kraut yet. I also gave a portion to Eva so she will probably soon post a recipe with homemade Sauerkraut.

I opened the pot after the opulent holiday season to have a detoxing “Sauerkraut” Day. It only contains 17 kcal per 100 gr and is strong in Vitamin C and Vitamin B12 (important for vegans). The bacteria of the hydroxypropionic acid are very good for the digestion. And most importantly, it tastes 100 times better than bought Sauerkraut!

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