Skip to comments.King of Kraut: Bumper Cabbage Crop Fills Sauerkraut Jars
Posted on 09/15/2009 9:17:23 AM PDT by nickcarraway
Talk to local gardeners, and theyre going to talk about the late spring and the unusually cool summer growing season. In that monologue, youre going to hear about the so-so onions and slow tomatoes, but also about the stupendous production of cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower.
Charles Szakacs reaped the benefits of a cool growing season when his Copenhagen cabbages more than doubled their weight and size. These select giant cabbages weighed around 19 pounds, but more came in at 15 and 16 pounds a head.
I picked one batch of 14 cabbages that weighed 183 pounds, he said.
On the family homestead between Caputa and Farmingdale, Szakacs plants a quarter-acre garden. Only 120 feet from Rapid Creek, he is able to irrigate the entire garden daily over several hours. He adds compost to the soil to keep the weeds down. Its surrounded by a 6-foot chain-link fence to keep the deer out. An electrified wire on top of the fence keeps the raccoons out of the corn.
Inside of this fenced plot is a cornucopia of vegetables. My father liked to garden, Szakacs said.
His garden includes 180 tomato plants, 1,200 onions, beets, cucumbers, asparagus and potatoes.
She (wife Marion Grant) got me started gardening nine years ago and I got carried away, Szakacs said.
This year, his 100 Copenhagen and 225 cabbages produced a bumper crop for his favorite condiment sauerkraut.
The only reason why they got this big was because of the cool weather, he said.
Using a giant-sized mandolin slicer, he runs his cabbages through in a matter of minutes, creating a raw cabbage slaw that is crisp and pungent. He will grate about four of his large cabbages 75 pounds of slaw for his 10-gallon crock that will eventually be packed and salted. Then it will be left to ferment for three weeks.
Out of that, Ill get roughly 60 quarts of sauerkraut, he said.
Each quart jar weighs about two pounds, including the jar. Dozens of jars of golden sauerkraut gleam in their glass containers, ready to add biting flavor to sausages, kielbasa and hot dogs.
Yeah, I got a lot of friends who like it, Szakacs said. Howard Nold started me three years ago making the stuff. He was so busy he couldnt make it, so he started me.
Luckily, Szakacs loves to cook.
His mother was an organizer of the local 4-H clubs and a member of the South Dakota Cowbelles, where she served as a state officer. Gardening and cooking were introduced into Szakacs life at an early age. He generally does his picking on the weekends, prepping the produce for drying, freezing or canning, then begins the canning process. His jars not only fill the pantry shelves, but offer other healthful benefits.
I work in construction and I do this for a hobby to relieve stress, he said.
You dont need gigantic cabbages to make sauerkraut, but it helps. Charles Szakacs reaped the benefits of a cool spring and summer with cabbages that were more than twice the size expected. He offers his simple recipe for sauerkraut.
75 pounds cabbage, cored and grated
2-1/4 cups pickling salt
Caraway seeds, optional
1 10-gallon crock
A fitted lid for the crock
Wash, core and cut out blemishes of 75 pounds of cabbage. Grate into a rough slaw and set aside. Layer the slaw cabbage into the bottom of the 10-gallon crock, salting the layer with about 2 tablespoons of pickling salt. Sprinkle lightly with caraway seeds. Pack down tightly and go to next layer. Continue in the manner for the first 50 pounds of cabbage. Szakacs said he has used about 1-1/2 cups pickling salt at this point.
For the next 25 pounds, use 3/4 cup salt to sprinkle each layer lightly, using only several teaspoons on each layer. Pack the cabbage slaw tightly. When finished, cover with cheesecloth, cover cheesecloth with lid and keep lid weighted with an 8-pound weight.
During the three weeks of fermenting, take the cheesecloth out each day to wash, wring out and replace. Pack the cabbage and replace cheesecloth on top of cabbage, replace lid and add weights. Change cheesecloth and pack cabbage daily.
At the end of three weeks, its ready for canning.
It will take about 7-1/2 hours to can that entire crock, Szakacs said.
Hot-Pack Method from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Prepare canner, jars and lids.
In a large stainless steel saucepan, bring sauerkraut, with brine, to a simmer over medium-high heat. Do not boil. Pack hot sauerkraut and brine into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch or 1 cm headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more brine. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process pint jars for 10 minutes and quart jars for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Fermentation may take up to six weeks, depending on atmospheric conditions and variations in the cabbage itself.
A jar lifter is very helpful for handling hot, wet jars. Because they are bulky and fit loosely, oven mitts even water-resistant types are not a wise choice. When filling jars, an all-purpose rubber glove, worn on your helper hand, will allow you to steady the jar.
A clear plastic ruler, kept solely for kitchen use, will help you determine the correct headspace. Each filled jar should be measured accurately, as the headspace can affect sealing and the preservation of the contents.
Marion Grant and her husband, Charles Szakacs, are both avid gardeners. Szakacs grew a cabbage this season that weighed more than 18 pounds. His garden is on a quarter-acre of his familyâs land near Caputa. Szakacs has taken to making sauerkraut with his abundance of cabbage.
Fire up the grill. This demands brats.
fill up them cabbage racks
Looks like a great year for corned beef and cabbage. It’ll bring out the Irish in you.
If you ever get the chance you must visit The Ohio Sauerkraut Festival!
I’m getting hungry just thinking about it and I just ate lunch!
I began feeling flatulent just reading that.. :)
Yep, I’m suddenly getting a craving for some good old Polish Bigos.
We just found a new source of natural gas: Chuck Szakacs.
Gross...my Mom and Sister loved that stuff. I couldn’t get past the obnoxious smell, always had to leave the house.
‘I began feeling flatulent just reading that.. :)’
“You are not by yourself, Al Gore will be really mad.
There could be a lot of CO2 released in the cooking of the methane producing Kraut!”
They said South Dakota will help resolve the energy crisis and they were right.
Now that looks like first class tailgating grub!!
Pork, potatoes and sauerkraut. Mmmmmm. Those things are way too big for halupkas though. My mom would faint.
How can people take something perfectly wonderful like cabbage and turn it into...SAUERKRAUT? Yuuuucccckkkk.
I thought this might interest a few on the Weekly Gardening thread. Thanks to SLB for the tip.
I do like cabbage but my wife does not like it except in a slaw. Any slaw recipes out there?
I use the smallest head I can get - cut it in quarters slather the sides with butter and salt and pepper and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 3.5 to 4.0 min. Yum!
cabbage cut up
pickles diced (I use dill but you can use sweet)
salt and lots of pepper
a tad mayo
refrigerate overnight for better taste
cabbage is also good for chow chow, with lots of mustard seed.
Put six strips of good bacon in the frying pan on medium heat. While that comes up to sizzling temperature, take one head of cabbage and slice half of it off in shreds about 1/4th of an inch wide (just slice it, it’ll fall apart by itself). Also chop up one mild onion. When the bacon’s done, take the bacon out of the pan and put the cabbage and onion in with the hot bacon fat. Apply salt and a generous dose of black pepper, put a lid on the pan, and turn the heat down to low. After five minutes, uncover the pan and stir with a spatula, turning the shredded cabbage over to expose fresh surfaces to the bottom of the pan. Put the lid back on for another ten minutes, then serve with the bacon on the side. Serves two (or one if it’s me).
There’s all kinds of ways to dress up this recipe (vary the meat with pepperoni, kielbasa, and so forth, add fresh basil near the end of simmering, add a clove of garlic, and so on...) but that’s the essential thing right there. I can eat a whole cabbage prepared that way!
The apple crop in NYS is phenomenal this year.
It’s one of the best in a long time. The trees are just loaded.
Now That Is Good Eats!
That looks so good that it’s almost obscene.
Damn! That sounds so good! I will be trying it!
My wife does the same; except wrapped in foil and placed on the grill.
I made a batch of sour kraut last year. I also planted some new cabbage plants this weekend.
I know you got some rain. Was it enough? Looks like the Dallas area got more than it needed.
Sauerkraut Cake - I usually make a homemade rich chocolate cake for this but you can use a devil’s food boxed mix. Prepare the mix as directed. Rinse and drain a can of sauerkraut (the plain kind, not the spicy kind). Chop up the larger hunks of kraut. Stir into batter and bake according to directions. The kraut makes the cake soooo very rich and moist but you don’t taste the kraut. Yummy!
Cabbage and Sausage - Chop a head of cabbage, a onion, a bell pepper, and a package (12-16 oz) of polish style link sausage, and dump in a can of rotel and a can of chopped tomatoes. Combine all in a large skillet and cover. Cook until cabbage is tender. Comfort food!
If you had any Polish or Czech realtives that cook, you wouldn’t be asking that question. It’s wonderful.
We got about 4 inches at home. There was none in the hill country, so the lake remains about 50 feet low. The heavier rain all fell east of the water shed.
I areated my lawn yesterday. The compost I’ve added the past few years dug up easily and I need to put some fertilizer down for the roots.
Ok, so now you have to give us the recipe for the homemade rich chocolate cake!
Sweet Slaw - This is the only slaw I make because it is so good!
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c mayo
1 t celery seed
2 T sugar (or to taste)
1 T vinegar
onion powder to taste
1 cabbage, shredded
1 carrot shredded (optional)
Mix first 6 ingredients. Toss in the cabbage and carrot. Let sit in fridge a couple hours or over night for flavors to marry.
Yes, but make mine with pastrami, please. Corned beef is good, but pastrami is better. :D
You can mix all that with boiled noodles & caraway seeds to get haluski, one of my favorite winter foods.
Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders. The main ingredients are potato, cabbage and onion. Similar to Irish colcannon, and English bubble and squeak, it is either served as an accompaniment to a main dish or as a main dish itself.
Cooked leftovers from a roast meal can be used. However, to make fresh rumbledethumps one needs to lightly sauté the shredded onion and cabbage in butter until the onion is transparent and the cabbage wilted, then add some potatoes mashed with butter, salt and pepper; after thoroughly mixing the ingredients, they are placed into an oven proof dish, and cheddar (or similar) cheese placed on top, if desired. This is then baked until golden brown on top.
An alternative from Aberdeenshire is called kailkenny which replaces the butter in the potatoes with cream.
We usually mix shredded cheese into it with the cabbage and onions; the "cheese placed on top if desired" is a must, too. A dash of nutmeg, and and a dose of granulated garlic mixed in with the S&P kicks it up a notch.
Chop an onion, and shred cabbage whiole boiling the spuds to mash, and the oven is heating to the 350-400F range. Saute them over low-med heat in enough butter to mash the potatoes, until the cabbage is limp & the onion is starting to turn translucent.
Drain & mash the potatoes, then add the onion & cabbage (and shredded cheese if using) & maybe sonme extra butter; don't forget the milk, half & half or ceream & the seasonings while mashing!
Put in an oven proof dish and spread it evenly and cover the top with cheese; garnish with (as in the pic) with red pepper rings, or other, as & if, desired. Bake until the cheeses is just starting to brown. (We use the same 8X13 deep loaf pan as for shepherd's pie.)
This is extremely forgiving, and can be varied almost endlessly.
Similar is Tatties & Neeps, in which mashed turnip is used in addition to, or instead of, onion--or even instead of the cabbage--your choice.
If my English to English translation is correct, it gets its name because you rumble (mix in) the cabbage & onion into the thumps (mashed potatoes, because you have to thump'm good to get'm mashed.
Is somebody hungry?
I am in Mississippi and if you tilt your chair back a little to far and fall you are said to have "tilted" over - just across the border in Alabama you "tumped" over! Neat stuff!
My father used to make sauerkraut. It had depth, complexity, a spicy and most satisfying aroma. Can't buy kraut like that at the store anymore...
1 head green cabbage
1 peeled carrot (increase or reduce to taste)
3 Tbs sweet relish (increase or omit to taste)
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 canola oil (or your favorite salad oil)
Grate cabbage and carrot into large bowl with sweet relish. Mix together dressing ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and cool. Pour over slaw.
This dressing also makes a super broccoli salad. Let me know if you would like the list of ingredients for that as well.
This recipe is a copycat of slaw at Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is probably why the kids have always favored it.
1 head of green cabbage finely chopped
1 carrot shredded
2 tablespoons dried minced onion (3 tablespoons if fresh is used)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Mix ingredients for dressing and allow and set aside for at least 2 hours to fully develop flavors. Pour over slaw.
Busy in the cookhouse today. There is a corned beef brisket braising in the oven for some glazed corned beef tonight. Also juicing the 20 gallons of muscadines that hubby and I picked yesterday. Taking 5 pounds of mule deer jerky out of the dehydrator. Hubby returned last week from hunting in Colorado (I didn't draw a tag unfortunately). Lots of good aromas floating around.
I like to shred the cabbage, then add sugar, salt and pepper and celery seed, apple cider vinegar and then mayonnaise.
It’s good and very fresh and I have no idea about measurements. It’s all to taste.
I like to cut my cabbage heads into quarters or eighths, depending on size. I put two pats of butter on them, with garlic salt, wrap them in foil, and cook them on the grill for about an hour, or until tender. If grilling other items, be sure to start the cabbage well before any other food goes on to insure it’s all ready at the same time.
Unwrap and pour the cabbage/butter into a casserole dish and serve. Mmmm mmmmm
Oh, I forgot to mention that how finely or coarsely you prepare your cabbage will effect on how your slaw will taste (oddly enough). I prefer very fine and, after cutting up the cabbage, I put it in the food processor and pulse it a few times. That gets it about the size required for the KFC copycat recipe.
Oh you can bet I want all the list of ingredients for the broccoli salad!
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