Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fermented Whole Head Cabbage

Sep 27 2014

I have been fermenting my own cabbage for sauerkraut since last year. I have a 5 liter fermenting crock and have made two batches in it with great results.

I enjoy reading food history; especially ethnic foods that were brought to the US by our immigrant ancestors. Searching for some cabbage roll recipes from the different European countries I found that some used fermented whole cabbages and used the leaves to wrap the meat mix. Some use sauerkraut mixed in with ground meat. I have made them that way and with sauerkraut over top and it is good.

I just used par boiled cabbage leaves to wrap them with. Fermenting whole cabbages and using the leaves was something new to me and I had to try it. Out for my almost daily trip to the grocery I stopped at our Saturday farmers market. I found two nice heads from a local gardener and he said he uses no pesticides. It looked like the two heads would fit in my fermenting crock.

I found an article on the net that the guy and an exchange student from Yugoslavia did an experiment over 3 years to find the best method. They used weak brine for one and strong brine 3.5% for another and the third was a dry brine of salt and shredded cabbage among the whole cabbages. They said the best was the ones done with 3.5% salt brine. They used 10 TBS of coarse salt for 5 quarts, 2 TBS. per quart.

I cleaned some of the outer leaves from the heads and in some salted water to soak for a couple of hours. This should chase out any vermin in them. I figured 4 quarts of water would cover the cabbage so mixed up my brine. I didn’t see in the article how long they let theirs ferment; but they had checked it often. For my kraut I let it ferment for 28 days, it takes that long at about 72 deg. F to produce the 3 lactic acids that are good for you. I plan to check mine after 5 days; then every few days and when I think it is done I will put in jars in the fridge to stop or slow the fermentation.

When I was ready to put the cabbage in my crock there was one small problem; they were too large to fit the opening! The only solution was to make them smaller or cut them in half; I cut them in half. I still should be able to get some nice leaves from them.  I got them in and poured the brine over to cover and added my weights.

Now all I have to do is wait; so I’ll see you in 1 to 4 weeks. I hope they turn out so I can have some good old fashioned cabbage rolls.
The cabbage

Packed in the crock

Fermenting Crock

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