Sunday, September 18, 2011

Old Family Recipe for Pickled Cabbage [Cooking]

As I'm sitting here typing on my laptop, I smell the cabbage fermenting away in the opened jars sitting on the dining room table.  I see the bubbles coming to the surface, indicative of the fermentation process occuring within each jar.  The light green color of the cabbage, mixed with the orange color of the shredded carrots, looks so appetizing.  Only a few more days until I can enjoy this home made treat.

Sauerkraut is a term that is popular in Cincinnati, a city known for its big German heritage.  Sauerkraut directly translates to pickled cabbage.  Here is what Wikipedia says:

 is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc,Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus.[1][2] It has a long shelf-life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.

I never liked Sauerkraut.  The only pickled cabbage I ever eat is my dad's.  My great grandma taught him how to make pickled cabbage, but he hadn't made it for 15 years. That's a long time!  I called my dad a few days before the weekend we would be visiting and told him that I wanted to learn how to make pickled cabbage.

We spent 1.5 hours cutting up 5 heads of cabbage, shredding 2 pounds of carrots, salting and massaging the mixture, and stuffing it into jars.  I loved that we were able to do this together because it allowed for us to bond.  This time gave my dad an opportunity to pass down an old family recipe.

One head of cabbage and 2 regular per 21 oz jar.
Canning & Pickling Salt.

  1. Remove the core.  Chop cabbage into very fine, long pieces.
  2. Clean and shred carrots.  
  3. Add carrots and cabbage to the bowl and mix.
  4. Add two pinches of salt (just a little more than you would put for a salad).  
  5. Massage the cabbage and carrots, squeezing and rubbing it together.
  6. Taste cabbage for saltiness (you will feel  the saltiness on the top of your mouth).  If not salty enough, add a small pinch of salt.  If too salty, add more cabbage/carrots and massage again.
  7. Put cabbage into container of choice, glass jar, or enameled bucket with lid.
  8. After one or two handfuls, push down tightly to pack the cabbage in (can use fist). Cabbage will begin to give off liquid.
  9. Leave one or two inches of room at the top.  The fermentation process will give off liquid and gases, which both need room.
Leave jars open for 3 days at room temperature. Put dish underneath for any dripping.

After three days, try cabbage for acidity. If ready, then put the lid on and store in the fridge.  Can also store outside if cold weather (temperature colder than in the fridge).

Next Recipe to Try
: Grandfather's (maternal) pickled cucumbers.

>> Have you ever pickled or fermented anything yourself?  Have you ever passed down any old family recipes?

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