Sauerkraut: The Reckoning

So I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I started some sauerkraut.  Well, it’s been long enough for it to start fermenting, and it sure smells like sauerkraut, so that can only mean one thing: taste test time!

As it’s fermenting in its food grade bucket, the sauerkraut stays covered by a cloth to prevent dust and whatnot from getting in there.  That means that after I hauled it up from the basement yesterday, it looked like this:

“What’s with the weird shape of your bucket?” you might ask. You need to weight the sauerkraut down with something to keep it under the surface of the brine.  Actual sauerkraut crocks have a fancy lid that fits down in it, like so:

Alas, I am cheap and we had a food grade bucket on hand, so we made do with an old plate and a growler full of water.

You can’t really see the plate there, but it’s under the surface of the brine.  Actually, the first plate I tried was too big since the bucket is slightly tapered, so I had to rescue a different one from under a houseplant and give it a thorough scrubbing…but I digress.

The beauty of sauerkraut is that you can take a bowlful out and then weight the rest back down and let it keep fermenting.  This allows you to taste it throughout the fermentation and determine when it is at optimal deliciousness, and that is just what I did.

The verdict?  It’s pretty tasty but still needs some fermentation time to become full on finished sauerkraut.  It still had a fair amount of crunch and some of the cabbage spice.  That did not, however, stop me from downing the entire bowl last night after I got home.

I have to say, the whole thing has been remarkably easy–who knew cabbage and salt was all you needed!?  I will continue sampling this kraut over the next few weeks, but next time I think I will make sure to have some bratwurst on hand!  If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, I got the recipe from the Wild Fermentation website.

Have you tried making sauerkraut?  How did yours turn out?

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