Friday, August 16, 2013

The Kraut Stomper

Click image to enlarge.

I only remember my folks making kraut one time when I was just little. I don't know why they quit, maybe because they filled in their snaky old cellar (an unwise move, I think) and didn't have any place to keep it through the winter. We always had big stone jars sitting around, until Mom let them freeze and bust, one by one, from using them to store water too late in the year, The kraut rock and the kraut stomper remained on the back porch until Mom moved to town, at which time I brought them home with me.

The kraut rock was a large piece of petrified wood, although I think I've got another one of fossilized bones of some sort. The stomper sort looks like sassafras, though I can't be sure. It's about four inches across the wide end, and about 30 inches long. I never realized that you have to stomp it pretty well for it to ferment properly, I just thought it was to force out as much air as possible.

Regardless, the old stomper got full of powder-post beetles at some point in the past, so I let it go with the stuff that I took to the auction house/antique dealer today. I'm thinking of trying to make some kraut at some point, but it won't be any trouble to make a new one if that time ever comes. Believe it or not, you can buy them from Lehman Hardware, along with the boards that go under the rock.


kymber said...

Mr. Smythe - a timely post as it is right about the time to start making some kraut to enjoy over the winter. we love sauerkraut here...actually we love any kind of fermented veg! i can only imagine your Mom's crocks and rocks and shake my head very sadly - i'd kill someone for them!

your friend,

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I have used a variety of containers as I don't have a good crock right now. I have a straight sided glass jar that is similar to a crock and I put a small dish in it as the cover and a mason jar of water as a weight. The best thing I made with it last year was turnip, I grated it like slaw and lacto-fermented it just like kraut. It came out with a kind of mild horseradish type of smell and was great on hot dogs. I do need a good stomper though.

Gorges Smythe said...

Dad was pretty disgusted with her, kymber, especially since the jars were from HIS side of the family.

SF, probably all you need is to cut a sapling the right size, maybe one with some butt-swell. I think you can use maple, ash, poplar, or anything that wouldn't have an obvious flavor.

Ralph Goff said...

I've got a good crop of cabbage and several big old stone crocks. All I lack is the knowledge and ambition to try making some sauer kraut. I hear it is very good.

Gorges Smythe said...

You'll need to wait until cool weather, but you can get the infi on the internet. Can't help you with the ambition, though, Ralph! ;-)

Chickenmom said...

My Grandfather used to make it. I can still remember the pungent odor that came from his house!

Gorges Smythe said...

I've never cared for it, Cm, maybe that's why I don'y remember much about it. Still, I'd like to make some - go figure!