But the best kraut, to my way of thinking and eating, is always made from just-harvested heads, fresh from the field or garden.
That's why now's the time to hop to it, and why we have more options again today.
For starters, Lavon Woodey of Everett, who just shared one of her favorite apple desserts with us in the Oct. 5 Forum, writes, "In response to the letter from Barbara Colleen Adams, who was looking for a recipe for sauerkraut in a quart jar, my sister Sharon Smiley of Nine Miles Falls was here and said, 'I have that recipe.'
"Once home, she found it in a cookbook and called, and here it is. My sister has made it, waits a couple of months before serving, and says her husband really likes it.
"She also says to buy the already shredded, packaged cabbage, then it's a little less messy. Some stores sell bulk packs of this cabbage.''
And Everett cook Carol Wilson tells us, "I don't know if this is the missing recipe for sauerkraut in a jar, but I found it on the net and thought I would send it in.''
Sauerkraut in a quart jar
Chopped or shredded cabbage
White distilled vinegar
Pack chopped or shredded cabbage into sterilized quart jars. To each quart, add 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 tablespoon canning/pickling salt. Fill each jar to the top with boiling water, close jars tightly with lids and rings. Shake well. Shake 2 times daily for 1 week. Place jars in boiling-water canner with just enough hot water to cover lids and heat just enough to seal jars. Lift from water, drain and cool. Store jars in the refrigerator.
Sauerkraut in a jar
8-10 cups shredded cabbage, loosely packed (about 2 pounds, 1 cabbage)
10 juniper berries
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
1-2 teaspoons pickling or plain, not iodized salt
Filtered water and salt mixture
In clean, nonmetallic bowl, mix cabbage, juniper berries, caraway, mustard seed and salt. Stir cabbage to release juices. Let rest 10 minutes, then mix again. (You may let this rest longer -- 1 to 2 hours -- if needed.)
Sterilize wide-mouth, quart jars and lids by boiling for several minutes in water and draining on a clean dishcloth. Pack cabbage mixture into jars, pushing down with a small wooden mallet. Add filtered or non-chlorinated water mixture (1 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water) to each jar to rim, and cap loosely with sterilized lid and ring. Place jar(s) on tray to catch overflowing juices. Keep jars between 65 to 72 degrees for 2 to 3 weeks.
After bubbling stops, check jars and top off with additional salty water mixture, warmed slightly to dissolve completely, if level falls below rim. Skim any (harmless) white spots or film from the top, close jar tightly, wipe off outside of jar and store in the refrigerator.
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