Thursday, July 11, 2013

Extreme Kitchen DIY: Sauerkraut.

I know that some of you do make your own sauerkraut, and may feel that this process does not qualify as Extreme Kitchen DIY, but I think it is fair to say that for most ordinary folk, sauerkraut is something to be bought from the delicatessen, or in bags or cans.

I give you the instructions from Simpson's Cookery, Improved and Modernised: the Complete Modern Cook, containing a very extensive and original collection of recipes in cookery, (1834) by John Simpson

Sauer Krout.
This article is generally bought ready-made at the Italian warehouses. I will give the receipt for those who feel disposed to make it themselves.
Pick off the outer leaves of some white winter cabbages; cut the cabbages up in shreds with a knife, or plane made on purpose, if you make a great quantity. Put your cabbage to ferment in a tub, twelve hours at least, and twenty-four at most; after which press the moisture from it as much as possible. Cylindrical stone jars are the best things that you can use to put them in. If you have not these, take a cask with the head out. Mix a few juniper berries or carraway seeds with your cabbage. Put a layer of salt in the bottom of the cask, over which a layer of cabbage four or five inches thick. Lay them evenly, and press them as closely down as you can: continue thus to fill the cask within an inch or two, with alternate layers of salt and cabbage. Cover the top with a layer of salt: on this place a lid, as large as the head of the tub. Place heavy stones on the lid. Mind they must not be calcareous stones, or the acid would eat into and dissolve part of them. As soon as a crust is formed on the moisture produced from the cabbage,your sauer krout is fit for use.
As it must not come in contact with the air, and the cover is smaller than the tub, press a wet towel in round the edge, which wash in cold water every time you have to take out sauer krout. You must carefully wipe with a dry cloth those parts of the tub that are left dry as your sauer krout gets lower. There is enough moisture when it covers the cabbage. Your cover must be stout and strong, and entirely of wood. Keep your sauer kroutin a cool place; if in a cellar, it must be airy and not damp. About two pounds of salt are required to twenty middling-sized cabbages.

To Dress Sauer Krout.
Take the sauer krout from the tub or jar with your hands: squeezing it as dry as you possibly can. Put as much as you want into a large stewpan with a small knuckle of ham, a lean piece of raw beef, and a good piece of butter. If you have no ham, use bacon, and an onion stuck with a few cloves. Cover the whole with soft water, and then with buttered paper. Put the whole to boil, and as soon as it boils, put it on a back stove to simmer, with fire over and under it. It will require about four hours' gentle simmering. When tender, take out the beef, onion, and ham, and turn the whole on a large sieve over a dish, into which the liquor may fall. Put half a pound of butter into a stewpan, and work a little flour into it to make a thin roux (No. 41). After you have worked this over the fire a few minutes, dilute it with a sufficient quantity of the liquor from the dish to bring it to the consistency of bechamel (No. 46); season with pepper. Throw in you sauer krout, mix it well, and put it in a basin for use. Keep it covered with a sheet of buttered paper.

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