Now I know profiling is wrong. But there has got to be some reason that compels people to do what it is they do. For instance, we went on a short trip to Zapata, Texas last weekend to be part of a cook team for a fish fry that was to feed about 350 of a company’s best customers. This is an annual jaunt we take to be part of a slave-labor team at the fryers and we all absolutely love it and have the best time. The company pays for the entire trip including the hotel so it’s free entertainment as far as we’re concerned. This group hubby and I hang with love to cook. (I will be posting about BBQ cookoffs as the summer rolls on).
Along with fried fish, coleslaw was served (of course). So we all get back from our trip and my friend Kim tells me she still has 20 pounds of coleslaw cabbage mix leftover in the ice chest and she has no idea what she’s going to do with it. For some reason known only to God Himself, I blurt out, “I’ll buy half of it from you.” Seriously. HALF? So some unknown force has placed me in her boat and now I don’t know what I’m going to do with 10 pounds of cabbage any more than she did with 20!
Why did I do that? I can only blame it on being a Yankee by birth. Even though I was raised as a Texan, I shop for and prepare food in bulk like I need to make it through 6 more months of winter. My favorite grocery store is Sam’s and I get some sense of wholeness and earthy-well being from canning. It’s completely inexplicable. I buy rice and flour in 50 pound bags and keep them in two food vaults, and I’ve always got at least 20 extra rolls of toilet paper. My panty has a pantry. It’s almost embarrassing. But you know what? “You never know”. And that’s reason enough I guess. Besides, we could have another ice age one day…you never know.
So Kim and I get the bright idea that we will both make sauerkraut from the cabbage. I’ve never made sauerkraut and hubby and I don’t eat much of it but by golly, I’m in now for some sauerkraut! I scrounge the internet for some recipes and how-to’s and finally settle on one from Food.com. The directions and ingredients were kind of sketchy but hey, I’ve canned before so I think I can swing it. Water, vinegar, salt, cabbage. Got it. I like a recipe with reviews so I can see what worked best and what didn’t and maybe tweak the recipe some to my liking. So here’s my version.
2.5 lbs shredded caggage
4 cups water
1 pint vinegar (2 cups)
1 cup salt**
Put some canning lids in a pot of water to simmer (not boil) on the stove. When the water begins to simmer, shut off the heat.
Put the water, vinegar, and salt in a pot on the stove and warm it until the salt is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Pack (and I mean REALLY pack) the cabbage into quart canning jars – do this over a very large bowl because the cabbage goes everywhere. Ladle the liquid on top of the cabbage to the neck of the jar. Poke the handle of a wooden spoon down into the jars to release any air bubbles. Let sit a few minutes and the cabbage will shrink some. Put the wooden spoon to work again and push the cabbage all down in the liquid. Put a lid on the jar and hand-tighten the ring. Label the lid and put in a cool room that stays in the mid-70 temp range for 2 months. When fermenting is complete, bring the cabbage-now-sauerkraut to a boil in a pot, and can as normal.
And note to self next time…Do not mix in the purple cabbage packet included in the bag. Hence, pink sauerkraut. But hey, it’s February right?
** Salt. Salt is not salt. There are different types of salt and I tried two different kinds to see which would work best.
I used Canning & Pickling Salt on some of the jars, which is about the same grind as table salt but does not contain iodine or sugar. Yes, sugar. Look at the box of Morton’s, my favorite table salt. It’s cut with sugar – which makes it good for table salt but not so good for canning. And then I used Kosher salt on the rest of the jars. That is a little less “salty” if you will, and has a more mellow flavor than canning salt. There’s also Sea Salt, but that gets pretty pricey. I strongly suspect I’ll prefer the sauerkraut with the Kosher salt but we shall see in 8 weeks.