Sauerkraut!


I am relatively new to the process of home fermentation, and have shied away from it in the past because it always seemed so daunting.  My family’s fermentation crock is gigantic, and really appropriate for making 50 plus pounds of fermented goods at a time.  I have never personally used it, as I’m the only one around here that likes sauerkraut.  Even as much as I enjoy it, eating half my body weight in sauerkraut would likely surpass enjoyment for me.  

For the amount of fermentation I do, purchasing even a small fermentation crock just didn’t seem cost effective to me.  Many range in the triple digits.  There had to be another way…  

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Until very recently, my makeshift way of making sauerkraut has involved a plastic gallon freezer bag, a head of cabbage, some salt, peppercorns, some full mason jars (for weighting down the cabbage in the bag), and an old Crockpot crock to steady everything.  

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Though I’ve tried to mimic a traditional fermentation crock in the past, you can see it doesn’t really work.  Finding an item that fits in your crock perfectly is a toughie.  You can see in this photo that the cabbage on the sides of the orange plate is exposed, so it wouldn’t keep the anaerobic process going while fermenting.  To combat this, I would put the cabbage in a sealed freezer bag before weighing it down.  I could ferment sauerkraut for about a week with success using this freezer bag method, but anything beyond that and I’d risk spoilage. As fermentation is an anaerobic process that generates gas bubbles, the tricky part has always been simultaneously keeping the cabbage immersed in the brine, letting the gases out of the bag, and not letting air in.  Inevitably, I’d accidentally “burp” the bag wrong, not seal it all the way, etc, and return the next day to find my batch ruined and compost-ready.

Enter this little invention. 

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A couple of weeks ago, I tested out my new “Krautsource” fermentation lid.  It fits on any wide mouth mason jar.  The sauerkraut I made fermented for 2 weeks before I tried (and loved) it.  

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It is relatively inexpensive (about 30 dollars) and did not require large amounts of cabbage to work with as does the traditional fermenting crock.  You are looking at my last Winter CSA cabbage in this jar (some dilled beans also making a cameo appearance).

I was worried about the involvement of metal, as metal usually seems to be a no-no with fermentation, but with this stainless steel it has been a non-issue.  The mechanism is simpler and sturdier than some of the plastic ones I’ve seen.  After 2 weeks, I have a batch of the best sauerkraut I’ve ever made!

I’ll definitely be using this again and will share more uses for this cool invention here.  Next time I make sauerkraut I’ll go into more detail about the actual process using the Krautsource as well.  In the meantime, Springdell Kraut burgers for dinner with a side of Fat Moon pea shoots, anyone?

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About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A long time member of Springdell and a busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food.

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