originally posted by: BrianFlanders
I'm always stuck between a rock and a hard place when I buy sauerkraut. Good sauerkraut is too expensive to eat it the way I do (I put it on
everything). Cheaper sauerkraut is not that bad but it just doesn't have the same depth of flavor and so forth as the good stuff. And of course, most
of the cheap sauerkraut you buy here is pasteurized.
I hear you on that. Good is pricey... bad, ya just can't do it. Regardless of savings..
Also, like Liquesence and Putman6 point out, the first part of the process is just like Kimchee. Which I also love. Same thing on expense.
Anyway, if you want it to stay a live cultured, fermented, food you have to jar it, then cool it. That can stay in a fridge for a good long time. Just
like Kimchee... but if you want it to stay on a shelf for years that's different.
I do both. I straight jar a few quarts for the fridge - in the cave and in the kitchen - live active no heat. I can the rest.
Jar it really. I run the rest through a pressure cooker under a load of 10 atmospheres, at 220 degrees, in clean Mason/Ball jars. That pasteurizes
everything. Pasteurization happens at 160 degrees, but, I found some things out in the years...and I follow my own recipe now.
A large portion of what I do in making follows the Ball Canning Cookbook, but, they water bathed the jars too long. I adapted a pressure cooking
method. It keeps the Sauerkraut far crunchier, and you retain almost all of the vitamins. Plus, you get the added benefits - as pertaining to natural
fermenting - which helps in breaking/digesting the food down, but you do lose the live cultured Sauerkraut.
The taste is still the same. However, the can/jarred ones can get wicked with age. It's something to do with live fermentation, and something sitting
in what amounts to salt water, hermetically sealed, in a jar. The salt gets stronger tasting over time... I think it re-establishes its crystalline
pattern regardless of atmosphere.
So it is all pretty salty after 3 years.
But it is cheap. After the crocks are paid for. I used a normal 6 gallon crock for years, then I found a salted (dark brown inside) glazed 6 with a
cover. That stuffed will make 20 quarts of Sauerkraut... repacked you are looking at 30 quarts pasteurized if you want... I run a standard 50 pounds
of cabbage, give me about 3-4 gallons of packed cabbage, then I get 15-20 quarts of Sauerkraut in the end...
Enough to do what you want for ya.