Today is our fourth annual (albeit not consecutive) sauerkraut making day. I’m interested in sauerkraut for the phenomenal digestive health benefits and making a giant vat saves a ton of money over the course of a year. Last I checked, it was selling for $14/pint for the truly fermented kind (vs pickled in vinegar). Today we have eight cabbages weighing about 5 lbs each. A month from now, we’ll have two plus gallons of kraut.
My dad is Pennsylvania Dutch, which for those of you who aren’t from around here might not know, means of German (deutsch) descent. And while there are also plenty of Amish folks in the state, also of German descent, it’s not the same thing. Just a quick PSA based on questions I’ve received over the years wondering how I escaped the barn-raising lifestyle or about my ancestors in the Netherlands.
According to him, the traditional way to make sauerkraut is to shred cabbage and mix with salt, place it in a crock down by the river and pay a neighbor boy a nickel every day to check on it and report when it’s ready.
We will only use the first few steps of that recipe! The crock used to sit and ferment in the basement until it started to smell funny, the universal sign that it’s ready. I’m not keen on carrying it down the stairs, so we’ve made different arrangements this year. One of the more important steps is placing it in some sort of tray to catch and juice that bubbles over. We’ve tried out a variety of cookie trays and such and finally found something large enough to hold the crock.
So today we’ll spend a few hours turning about $30 dollars worth of local cabbage and some pink Himalayan salt into a few hundred dollars worth of pre- and pro-biotics and a tasty dish. The neighbor lady, who incidentally has known me since I was a day old, has brought an electric slicer, so it will likely go even quicker. And hopefully spare all our fingertips. 🙂 And potentially make clean up more interesting…
I think everything is ready to go and we’ll begin after lunch. Hopefully it all goes well as I’m planning to return to Philly this evening. I don’t love the drive, but this tradition has lured me out of my comfy little apartment, which is much to small to host such an event.
I’ll report back next month!