cabbage preserving

When life hands you cabbages, what do you do??  You make sauerkraut, cabbage soup, cabbage rolls, and you freeze the rest.

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This week we were blessed with cases of cabbage.  I know most people would probably wrinkle up their noses at the thought of cabbage.  But I took it as, the Lord saw fit to provide cabbage for our family, then we will see fit to prepare it in every way possible.

I really enjoy making vegetable cabbage soup.  I have been making this soup forever, especially while doing my weight loss a few years ago.  It is a great filler soup and you can eat a lot of it and it doesn’t add pounds.

Now, since my husband is on board with eating healthier, he really enjoys this soup.  I decided to make a pot each week and serve it for lunch for me and pack him a small container in his lunch.  This is a great way to use up that cabbage.

I actually did something a little bit differently to “spice up” my vegetable cabbage soup.  I cooked some meatballs that I had made and put in the freezer and then added it to my soup.  
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I browned them in the oven until cooked.  I was able to serve this soup for a meal with some Parmesan cheese grated over top.  Most of the children ate it this way.IMG_20140922_142539

As for the rest of the cabbage…………I set myself to work.

I chopped some heads into chunks like this.IMG_20140922_143443

Placed it into a pot of boiling water to blanch it.  I put it for literally less than 90 seconds.  IMG_20140922_143941

I then put it in cold tap water for 90 seconds to cool it.  I drained it and put it into ziploc freezer bags.IMG_20140922_144055

I did the same thing to freeze some leaves to make cabbage rolls.   I placed the entire cabbage head in the pot of water.  I then peeled off the leaves in their entirety and put them in cold tap water.  I stacked them on top of each other and put them in a freezer ziploc bag.  IMG_20140922_145149

We usually make gwumpkies with this but might branch out and make some cabbage rolls with tomato sauce.

O
k, so I STILL had numerous heads of cabbage left, even after freezing 30 bags of it.  I decided to make sauerkraut.  How hard could that be?

I have read about fermented foods and healing our guts from the inside, I thought this was a perfect way to begin.  Sauerkraut in a jar is suppossed to be very simple.  I could do this.

I shredded my cabbage heads in my food processor to get them finely chopped.  I then put them in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with about 1 tsp sea salt.  I then worked the salt into the cabbage and let it set.  The salt actually makes the cabbage start to make its own juices.  It took about 15 minutes.

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I then packed them into my quart jars.  You can pack a lot of cabbage into a jar.  I pushed it down with a spoon.  The liquid level was about halfway up the jar.

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I then put cups to push down the sauerkraut.  Some people use weights or fancy crocks, but I had  cups that fit the hole perfectly.

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After the first day, I checked my brine.  Some of the jars made more liquid and it filled to the top.  Others did not.  So I made a mixture of about 4 cups of water and 1 tsp sea salt.  I then poured it into the jars until it covered the cabbage.IMG_20140928_112645

I then let it sit.  Be sure to set it in a pan to catch all of the fermenting juices.  This is all normal stuff. IMG_20140928_112652You might question everything about your sauerkraut. It looks like if you just keep it covered in the brine, cover to keep out bacteria and bugs, and let it do the fermenting naturally, then you are all good.  It might even grow a white mold on top, that is fine, you can scoop it off later.  Mine have sat for 3 days, I tasted a few jars, down in the center and they taste like sauerkraut.  Others have funky smells, that I will let sit and see how they taste in a week.

All the problems seem to get worse as fermenting process goes along, I figured the longer the better.  You get better flavor plus if something is wrong then you know something is wrong due to how you kraut turned out.

I plan on freezing these into quart bags when they are finished.

 

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