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.