I recently fermented a batch of sauerkraut by putting it into plastic freezer bags to ferment. I got the idea from a Facebook friend who posted that she had done her kraut in plastic bags.
In the past, I’ve tried using a crock, or quart canning jars. The crock method takes constant monitoring and I still lost kraut to mold. The canning jars leak all over the place and need to be constantly wiped and checked. The bags worked wonderfully. No leaks from the fermentation process and no mold from excess air, plus the kraut has the best flavor I’ve ever had in homemade kraut.
Some things to remember if you want to try fermenting your own sauerkraut:
You must work with fresh cabbage. If it’s more than a day old, it may not properly ferment. A week old is too old.
I harvested my cabbages the night before I was going to use them. They were crisp and had plenty of moister inside them. I then put them into the refrigerator for overnight keeping.
Only use a salt that is pure, such as seal salt or pickling salt.
It can be done in small batches of 5lbs: the weight is based on cored and shredded cabbage.
To make the Sauerkraut:
Prepare the cabbage in 5lb batches, using 3 TBL of granulated sea salt per 5lbs.
Place 5Lbs of thinly slliced or shredded cabbage into a large bowl along with 3 TBL of sea salt.
Add Dill or Caraway seed to taste. I added 1TBL Dill seed per 5lbs of cabbage.
Thoroughly mix the cabbage and salt together.
Gently pound the mixture, with a large wooden spoon, until the brine starts to collect.
Place 2 1/2 to 3 lbs of cabbage into a gallon freezer bag. Place the bags into a low, flat glass container ( such as a large baking dish) to prevent brine getting on the countertop, just in case there is a leak in the bag. Leave plenty of room around each bag.
Remove all air from the bag and seal. You should start to see the bubbles developing within a day. The temperature of your kitchen will determine how long it takes for the the fermentation to fully develop.
My kitchen runs about 70 to 80 degrees. It only took 12 days for the fermentation process to be completed. It will take longer in a colder kitchen.
Check the bags a few times every day. There should be lots of bubbles ( you can feel them through the bag and hear them) and the cabbage should be submerged in brine. Open and “burp” the bags each time you check them.
After the fermentation has slowed down or even stopped, pack the sauerkraut into quart jars. Make sure it is firmly packed into the jars and liquid covers the sauerkraut.
The jars can be stored at 50 -55 degrees, without heat processing. I have a refrigerator that keeps them at that temperature. If they are kept where it is very cold, the fermentation will stop. If the temperatures are much higher, the fermentation will continue and ruin the sauerkraut.
We have found that it is best to eat the sauerkraut while it is still pretty fresh. The older it gets, the stronger it gets.
For my stash of Sauerkraut I used 19 lbs of hand shredded, fresh cut green cabbage. That gave us 8 quarts of Dill flavored sauerkraut and 1 1/2 quarts of Kimchi.
This was my first time making Kimchi and I did get rather heavy handed with the chili pepper and ginger. It is really good in very small quantities.
We eat the sauerkraut fresh from the jar. Cooking it destroys the natural enzymes and makes it rather limp.
There’s more cabbages in the garden, so, I might be making more.
Cooking with Love,