Fermentation

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    Drakenstead1
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    For generations my family has fired up the houvel and shredded cabbage for sauerkraut each fall. We’ve canned it in wide mouth quarts with a large measure of success
    On occasion we lose a few quarts due to improper seals or the corrosive effects of the salt but by and large canning seems to be the way to do this successfully. I am aware that the kraut can be frozen but that method leaves the smell to occupy the freezer, takes up space that could be used for other things and relies upon continuous electrical power to maintain. We also are down to two here at Drakenstead so the economy of scale precludes the five gallon crocks of this traditional and healthy product.
    We found a green plastic basket at our local Farm & Fleet store that hold four to six pints or half pints and fits into a normal size kettle rather than the massive blue canner kettles we would normally use for the boiling water bath. It’s ideal for small batches of jams, jellies and preserves for two old people on the prairie. We also have a one gallon crock with a good pottery lid. It occurred to me that we could make sauerkraut in small one gallon batches through the year as needed. The fresher product tastes better, avoids the inevitable few bad jars and allows for portion size that two people can eat at a meal rather than shelves full of the results of a massive Fall effort. The cabbage keeps until February hanging in nets in our cold cellar so we also have fresh through much of the year. In January we’ll make the left over into sauerkraut.
    Now that we’ve switched to this scale we are looking at small scale production of other fermented products such as Kimchee, Kakduki (pickled radish) Kombucha and any other products we can come up with. Not all are suitable for canning but our cold cellar is a great place to keep another small crock of something like Fire Of Death Kimchee merrily bubbling away.
    This is just another adjustment that we, as empty nesters have had to make but some of the benefits would have been so years ago. We think it’s a positive adjustment.

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