By Judyrae Kruse Herald columnist
As we’ve learned, Darrington reader Barbara Colleen Adams has lost her boxed-up recipe collections, and among the must-have recipes was the one with directions for sauerkraut made in jars.
The dog is innocent. The goats didn’t eat the boxes either. No, this time, the cows were the culprits!
Since time is of the essence right now, let’s get right to it, starting with this letter and recipe from Stanwood cook Shirley Monteith.
“In my day,” she writes, “I have pickled just about everything imaginable and can’t think of anything that gives so much satisfaction and is so easy and fun to do.
“To answer Barbara Colleen Adams’s SOS for small-batch sauerkraut, the following recipe is from ‘Summer in a Jar: Making Pickles, Jams &More,’ by Andrea Chesman, published in 1985. (I’ve purchased like-new used editions from Amazon online.)
“I used to let the sauerkraut ferment in gallon jars that were easily found at places like Camano Island Seniors Second Hand Thrift Shop on SR 532, placing the jar in a large stainless steel bowl as it can spew over. Then transfer the kraut into pints or quarts. It is quite wonderful and fresh-tasting.”
9 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup pickling salt
Optional seasonings (see note)
Trim off the outer leaves of cabbage and wash. Trim off the central core. Thinly slice the cabbage. You can do this with a food processor (use the slicing, not the grating, blade) or a kraut cutting board. As you slice the cabbage, measure out 9 cups into a large bowl.
Mix the cabbage with the pickling salt; let stand for at least 2 hours. Rinse, drain, and rinse again. With water still clinging to the cabbage, pack into sterilized quart jars. Pack firmly and keep tamping down on the surface of the cabbage until liquid rises to cover top of the cabbage. Leave at least 1 inch of head space at top of the jar; more space is OK.
Wipe away any stray pieces of cabbage from the inside of the jar. Fit a piece of plastic wrap on top of the cabbage to exclude air from reaching the cabbage. Seal with a 2-piece metal canning lid, but do not tighten the screwband.
Store the packed jar in a room where the temperature stays at 68-72 degrees. This is the ideal temperature for fermentation. Check the sauerkraut from time to time and remove any scum that appears on the surface. There should be no scum if the plastic wrap is excluding air properly. Fermentation should cease after 2 to 6 weeks.
You can tell when the sauerkraut is ready. There will be no more air bubbles at the surface of the kraut, and the jar will not release a hiss of gas when you remove the screwband. The kraut will smell pungently pickled. It may taste too salty. If it is too salty for your taste, rinse the kraut before you serve it. If possible, do not rinse more than you plan to serve at one time. Store the sauerkraut in the refrigerator.
Makes about 2 to 3 quarts kraut.
Note: If desired, you can add seasonings such as garlic, dill seed or juniper berries to the cabbage.
The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don’t hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section.