Aunt Genny's Sauerkraut
My aunt Genny is one of the best cooks I know. I always enjoy a visit to her kitchen. The last time I was there she gave me a couple of jars of her famous sauerkraut and shared the recipe as well.
Like many old fashioned recipes, the exact quantity of each ingredient is not that precise. You may have to do a little experimenting based on how much sauerkraut you want to make.
- 1 teaspoon vinegar per quart sized mason jar
- 1 teaspoon canning salt (non-iodine salt) per quart sized mason jar
- 1 teaspoon sugar per quart sized mason jar
- boiling water
- canning jars and lids
- wooden spoon for packing cabbage down into jars
- knife for creating air pocket if cabbage is packed into the jars too tight
- large pot for boiling water
You'll want to be sure that your jars and lids are sterilized so I always begin by washing and scalding them in boiling water.
Next set your water on to boil. How much water you need depends on how many jars of sauerkraut you are preparing.
While the water is boiling, coarsely chop the cabbage.
Pack the chopped cabbage into the prepared jars. You want the cabbage to be in there tight and to the rim, but not too tight because you need the water to percolate through the cabbage. If you feel like it might be too tight just push a sharp knife blade down the center to open it up.
To each jar packed with cabbage add a teaspoon sugar, a teaspoon vinegar and a teaspoon of canning salt (this is salt with no iodine).
Next pour boiling hot water into each jar until the jar is full. Seal the jar as tightly as possible and process in a hot water bath for about 20 minutes. To learn more about how to use a water bath safely visit the USDA's website on the subject at http://foodsafety.cas.psu.edu/canningguide.html.
Store the jars in a cool, dark place. Some juice may leak out of the top, but this is ok. However, if too much escapes the cabbage will turn brown.
Fermentation takes about nine days.
Aunt Genny follows the almanac and abides by their rule that the best sauerkraut is made when the sun is positioned in the sky so that it is above your waist, specifically around the head and neck, but around the area of the heart will work as well.
She also suggests that the best cabbages are firm heads that are showing a lot of white in the leaves are the best.