Homemade Sauerkraut

I decided to give sauerkraut a try. After watching several different videos, I opted for a small batch method in a mason jar. I’m really just dipping my toes in the water with this, so who knows how it is going to turn out. The recipe was extremely simple. To make it, you need the following ingredients.

  • White Cabbage
  • Sea salt
  • Caraway seeds

I shredded a single head of cabbage and mixed with a tablespoon of salt and handful of caraway seeds. Immediately the smell was amazing. The caraway seeds really lend a beautiful aroma to the mixture. I mixed it all by hand and squeezed the cabbage to try to bring the water out of the cabbage. I then covered the bowl with a towel and let it sit for an hour. Then I crushed the lettuce again and let it sit for 3 hours. I probably should have let it sit overnight, but at this stage I added the cabbage to a jar, covered it with a cabbage leaf, some water, and finally added pressure (with 2 shot glasses) to keep the cabbage below the water/brine level.

Hopefully in a few days I will start to see some fermentation working.

First Brew Day

DeAnna and I are making some changes toward a more self-sustaining life. Part of doing that means growing more in the garden, preserving foods rather than buying store bought sauces and jams, and making our own beer and wine. Yesterday, I took the first steps toward becoming a home brewer, thanks to the help of a wonderful friend, Rich.

I met Rich at the Home brewing supply shop and he gave me a quick run down of what to do. On the wall was a list of what must be over 100 incredible beers for which the shop has recipes for clones. It was tough to decide, but upon noticing Anchor Steam on the list, I knew what I had to make for my first beer. I grabbed a fermenting bucket and a few other items and we were ready to get started. Rich got an Australian Shiraz kit to make some wine.

Next it was off to the store for some spring water and a 6-pack of beer to accompany us on our journey. As luck would have it, they had Anchor Steam! I couldn’t think of a better thing to drink while making an Anchor Steam clone, so with a few more purchases we hit the road and headed toward the house to get started.

After laying everything out, we got walked through the directions and boiled the grains and hops, added the malt, and finished with the flavor and aroma hops. Finally we gave the wort an ice bath to bring the temperature down to the point we could pitch the yeast.

During a break between babying the wort, Rich made the wine. I was amazed at how easy the wine was to get to the fermenting stage. He did mention that it gets a bit more complicated later, when you move to a secondary fermentation and finally bottle the wine.

Eventually we were done and moved the buckets to my basement. Since it is a bit cool outside and we don’t have heat in the basement, I added a small space heater to keep the buckets at 70% while fermentation gets kicking. As of this afternoon, both buckets were bubbling away, letting me know that the yeast was healthy and everything is going just as planned. Now comes the hard part, patience.