Thursday, December 2, 2010

Small Batch Sauerkraut

I am clear now that "small batch" is the way to go when making fermented foods. Typically kraut is made in large crocks (10 gallons or so), I guess because during harvest all the cabbage comes in at once; or maybe this tradition was invented by people with large families - either way it seems to be done in large amounts.

Large (and small) crocks are pricey, they take lots of space when stored, and I find them also hard to clean - try flipping a large heavy clay crock to drain soapy water! This fall I did two batches - one in a small crock (3 gallons) and one in a large one (10 gallons) - and now, speaking from the experience, I give my vote towards small scale kraut making. The ease of each step, and the better taste of the smaller batch convinced me once and for all - small batch is the way to go.
So this is what I like about it:
- small vessel works, no need to invest in new crocks - a very large glass or ceramic bowl will do
- small space needed for fermentation process which takes place at room temperature, most usually in a kitchen; counter top accommodates small crock/bowl just fine
- easier to keep the kraut fresh, and not to overload your refrigerator with final product
- learning curve is not as steep - in case of mistakes one can just start over and not grieve over wasted food & money (read 10 lbs of cabbage vs. 60 lbs)

Thumbs up to small crocks & large bowls. See my favorite recipe. Fill your plate with live vitamin C - delicious. My toddler son loves kraut and asks for his "Kapustka" (kraut in my native Russian) every day.


Claire Culver, Chief Chickenthusiast said...

Your talk of kraut makes me crave it! I'm one of the unfortunate who's husband can't stand the smell of cooking cabbage, nor can he handle onions. What what I THINKING to marry him???? ;)

Enjoy your kraut, and have an extra helping for me!

Arina said...

there are no onions in the kraut! Hide the fermenting crock on the back porch, or your balcony, or maybe at a friend's house? Once fermented, it should not smell.... ouch, sad - to consume kraut in privacy!