About three weeks ago I did a sauerkraut canning experiment. I needed an alternative to the old-time tried and true method of fermenting sauerkraut in a crock and then canning it. The recipe I used called for packing shredded cabbage in quart jars and adding a teaspoon each of canning salt and sugar to each jar and topping them off with boiling water. Then the lids and rings are put on the jars loosely and they are left undisturbed for three days. After that time any film that has developed on the sauerkraut is skimmed off, lids and rings are applied more tightly and the jars are run through a water bath canner for 20 minutes. The directions say to let the jars sit for three weeks before using.
The three weeks is up. I opened a jar yesterday. I found that it tasted good, but much more mild than store bought sauerkraut. It doesn't have that pucker up quality of commercially canned sauerkraut.
I buttered a casserole dish, drained the sauerkraut and dumped it in. Then I topped it off with a pint of pork roast I had canned earlier and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or so. I have to say that it was pretty good. It tastes more like a cross between regular cooked cabbage and sauerkraut. I like cooked cabbage as a side vegetable dish, so I liked it. I only made three quarts of the stuff, so I am going to leave the other two on the shelf for another month or so to see if there is any difference in the taste.
I will probably experiment with other similar recipes to see if I can find one that is a bit more sour. I know that I could just go to the store and buy a can or two, but I really like the idea of making my own. I'm funny that way. The more I can do for myself without running to the grocery, the better I like it. This experiment hasn't turned out exactly as I would have liked, but it isn't a dismal failure, either. Live and learn. And keep on trying.
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