Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Make "Real" Sauerkraut

 Fresh, Homemade Sauerkraut Can't be Beat!

Dirk Ingo Franke

If you've never had fresh, homemade sauerkraut, than you're missing out on a crunchy, tasty treat! Homemade sauerkraut is easy to make and takes about two weeks to naturally ferment - this means you don't need to add vinegar- which makes it "real" sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Head of Cabbage; Firm, fresh heads are the best to use
  • 1 Tablespoon Crushed Sea Salt

Here's What You'll Need

  1. Food Processor; You can always shred the cabbage by hand using a knife
  2. Large Bowl or Sanitized Bucket (1-5 Gallons depending on how much sauerkraut you make)
  3. Cutting Board
  4. Sharp Knife
  5. Measuring Spoons
  6. Dinner Plate
  7. Potato Masher (Optional)
  8. Plastic Gallon Jug or Mason Jar filled with tap water
  9. Clean Kitchen Towel

How to Make Sauerkraut

Step 1: Remove outer leaves of the cabbage - especially those that are bruised or damaged.

Step 2: Quarter the cabbage by cutting it in half and cutting each half in half; remove the core.
- If using a food processor to shred your cabbage, cut each quarter in half as well.

Step 3: Feed each piece of cabbage into the food processor - make sure you use the blade for shredding. If using a knife, thinly shred each quarter of cabbage.

Step 4: Place half of the cabbage into your bowl or bucket, sprinkle with half a tablespoon of crushed sea salt; mix and squeeze cabbage for about 2-3 minutes working the water out. (This is where the potato masher comes in but I found it easier to use my hands.) The salt will help to draw the water out of the cabbage which is needed for the brine.

Step 5: Add remaining half of cabbage to bowl or bucket and sprinkle with remaining half a tablespoon of salt - repeat the squeezing and mixing process.

Step 6: Press the cabbage mixture into the bottom of your bowl using your hands or the masher. At this point, there should be enough liquid in the bowl to cover the cabbage. To test, place the dinner plate over the cabbage and lightly press down. If liquid seeps over the rim of the plate, then you are all set. (You can always add some water, a little at a time, if need be to cover the rim of the plate.

Step 7: Place the dinner plate face-down on top of the cabbage. Place the gallon jug on top of the plate, making sure liquid seeps over the rim. Rinse a clean kitchen towel under hot water, squeeze out access water, and cover the bowl with the towel.

Notes of Interest

  • The cabbage should always be submerged in liquid. As the fermenting process begins and continues over a 2 week period, more and more liquid will be drawn from the cabbage.
  • Check your cabbage every day. A white filmy muck may form on the top of the cabbage - this is normal! Simply skim the white muck off the cabbage and cover with a clean dinner plate. Don't forget to place the gallon jug on the plate and cover with a clean, warm towel.
  • Go ahead and taste the sauerkraut after 3 or 4 days - it should be turning sour by then. Check your sauerkraut each day and skim away the muck for 2 weeks or until the sauerkraut has the taste you prefer.

How to Save Your Sauerkraut for Later Use

  • If you're not going to be eating your sauerkraut right away after the fermenting process is finished, go ahead and can or freeze your homemade sauerkraut. 
  • I find it easier to freeze; I simply portion the sauerkraut into freezer bags, measuring 2 cups at a time ensuring there is an equal amount of brine in each bag. Then I label, date, and freeze. ( I say 2 cups because I had an abundance of cabbage in the garden this year and fermented 5 heads of cabbage at one time).
  • To can, bring the brine and sauerkraut to a boil in a large sauce pan. Fill mason jars with sauerkraut and top with brine leaving 1/8" of head space. Top with a fresh lid making sure the lids are tightly sealed.

Helpful Links:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kale and Kielbasa Soup Recipe

Image: Chrlstle 

Quick and easy to make, this tasty kale and kielbasa soup will give your taste buds something to talk about! This soup is full of flavor and tickles the senses while simmering on the stove.

Serving Size: 6 - 10          


1 lb. Kielbasa cut into slices
2 Medium Yellow Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, sliced
5 Cups Kale, ribs removed and ripped into bite-sized pieces
2 Cans (28 oz.) Cannelloni Beans, drained
2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
7 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Bay Leaf


1. In medium pot, sauté kielbasa till slightly browned (about 5 minutes), remove & set aside
2. Add olive oil and sauté onions & carrots for 5 minutes. Add garlic & sauté 1 minute. Turn heat to low & add kale. Cover and let steam until wilted (about 4 minutes). Add Salt & pepper, stir.
3. Add broth, beans, kielbasa, & bay leaf
4. Turn heat to high & bring to a boil. Cover & let simmer on low about 20 minutes stirring occasionally 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Croc Pot Beef-n-Veggie Soup

Beef-n-Veggie Soup

Image: calamity_hane

Warm up your insides on a cold winter day with this healthy, filling beef-n-veggie soup. Packed full of flavor and filled with vitamins, this soup is sure to please the entire family. It's great re-heated and freezes well too - that's if you have any leftovers!

Serving Size 8 - 10


2 lbs. Stew Beef, cut into chunks
2 Carrots, sliced
2 Cups potatoes, diced
1 Onion, chopped
3 Small Bunches of Kale, ripped into bite-sized pieces
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
1 ½ Cartons Beef Stalk (use 1 carton if you prefer less broth)


1. Season beef with salt & pepper to taste and lightly brown in sauté pan
2. Add carrots, potatoes, and onion to croc pot (save kale for later)
3. Add beef and salt & pepper, cover with broth
4. Cook on low for 6 hours stirring occasionally
5. Add kale and cook for an additional hour

Would you prefer toasted garlic bread or warm, hearty rolls with your Beef-n-Veggie Soup?