In preparation for Jeff and Kim's impending nuptials, Sylvia and I are hosting a "Couples Shower."
As you can see, the theme of the event is for you to BYOB and we provide some bar food to accompany the beers. Of course, no beer tasting would be complete without Brats and Sauerkraut. In an effort to "keep it real," I made the kraut by hand. Here is how I did it:
First, remove any old, nasty leaves of cabbage from the heads. Peel off five big leaves from a few of the heads of cabbage and set aside. Quarter the cabbage heads and remove the cores. Now, chopped up a bunch of green and purple cabbage a la chiffonade, about four pounds worth.
Then I added about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and about a tablespoon of caraway seeds. Then I mixed this all up very well. Just like when you make coleslaw.
Meanwhile, Sylvia washed 5 large mason jars.
Then I stuffed the cabbage in the mason jars with my special tortilla rolling pin aka wooden dowel. You need to stuff it really tight! Get your back behind it!
After I had stuffed the cabbage in the jars, I used the big leaf I tore off at the start and used it as a top. I also grabbed an old, clean dish towel and cut it in squares big enough to to cover the jars (see below). You will also need some twine or rubber bands.
For the first 24 hours you will need to compact the cabbage every few hours. After that, the cabbage will need about three days before it becomes sauerkraut. It will ferment for about a week before it tastes right. Be sure to taste it every now and then and pour off excess liquid. You can let it go even longer if you dare.