Kraut success!

July 5, 2016

Isn't it PRETTY? It's damn-sho GOOD!

Isn’t it PRETTY? It’s damn-sho GOOD!

We have made kraut, and we have made it successfully.

As I had a kitchen apprentice in the house (daughter of a friend of my daughter’s, who ranks as one of my many “adopted” children, so essentially my “adopted” granddaughter), I figured I’d get plenty of use out of her. She wanted to learn to bake yeast bread, so we did that. And I needed to can kraut, so we did that. Plus we made bread pudding, cut up a bunch of peaches, and she watched while I cooked supper.

And I sent her home with all my “dangerous” shoes, i.e., the ones I broke my ankle in, as well as several other pair. Sigh. So long, cute shoes.

It’s hell to get old.

It’s quite nice, though, to pop the top off a big ol’ bucket of kraut that has been fermenting for four weeks and find that it’s crisp, and salty, and sour, and good! All of which it’s supposed to be, but all of which you wonder about while it’s sitting there in the dining room floor for four weeks, doing its lactobacillus thing. I half expected for the Loch Ness Monster or some equivalent to crawl out of that bucket when I cracked it open. And in truth, it didn’t look too appetizing, with a sort of cloudy brine and bits of scum gathered here and there.

I scooped off the worst of the scum, and took off the weight, the plate and the plastic wrap that covered the cabbage. And it looked about like it ought to. I was encouraged. No Nessie lurking about.

Cooking apprentice Victoria, hard at work.

Cooking apprentice Victoria, hard at work.

As I didn’t like the looks of the brine, particularly, I had Cooking Apprentice (hereinafter known as CA, whose name is really Victoria, and she’s about the sweetest kid ever made) dump it in a colander, whereinafter I rinsed it off with some clear water.  She packed it in jars, and I made up some more salt-water brine to top off the jars before we ran them through the water bath.

Honey. Salty, sour, crispy. It’s screaming for a Reuben, and I may well go get some corned beef tomorrow for same.

Surprisingly, and sadly, that 10-plus pounds of cabbage made two quarts and three pints of kraut. I sent the quarts home with CA, whose family will eat a quart of kraut at a sitting, and kept the pints for us, as there only two of us and a pint is plenty.

It may not come up to my Daddy’s, but it’s in the neighborhood. I hope he’s smiling down on me tonight. (Actually, God love him, he’s probably itching to tell me what I could do to improve it, which would be just fine, because I’m ALWAYS up for improvement.)

We will have smoked sausage, or we will have kraut and smoked sausage, sometime this week, yes, we will. Or Reubens. Or maybe both. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em just come on over, and we’ll dish some up!




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