Sauerkraut made in a toilet reservoir

When my three kids were 10 years old we started the tradition of sauerkraut making, outside, on a long table. We would pick the cabbages, put them in a large galvanized steel tub of water. One kiddo cut away the bad parts and weighed them. One started shredding on an antique shredder we found at a second hand store. Another child added the salt and several kids smashed it, working together in unison. The shredded and salted and smashed cabbage went into a big toilet water reservoir we found at the recycle yard and cleaned thoroughly. We had carved a four inch plank to the shape of the reservoir and pushed it down until the plank was covered in cabbage juice. On top of all this we put jars full of water to keep the kraut under the plank. All of this happened on Autumn Equinox. On Winter Solstice, we took the plank off for the first time, skimmed off the mold and ugly green stuff, and took our first pot full of kraut for a winter feast. We tried to save enough kraut to last until the next reservoir was ready to open the next year. 


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Comment by Joan Denoo on October 16, 2014 at 9:29pm

Chris, a really good homemade Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese with Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. These are grilled between slices of rye bread. 


  • 3 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing or Russian Dressing 
  • 2 (1/2-inch-thick) slices rye bread
  • 1 1/2 ounces sliced Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained and squeezed of excess moisture
  • 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices pastrami or corned beef (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  1. Spread 1 tablespoon of the dressing on one piece of bread and top with half of the cheese, half of the sauerkraut, and all of the meat. Spread another tablespoon of the dressing over the meat and top with the remaining sauerkraut and cheese, in that order.
  2. Spread the remaining tablespoon of dressing on the remaining piece of bread and place it on top of the cheese, dressing side down. Press firmly to close the sandwich, then evenly spread the butter on the outside of the sandwich.
  3. Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat, place the sandwich in the pan, and press down on the sandwich with a spatula. (Alternatively, you can cook the sandwich in a sandwich press.) Cook until the bread is crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is golden brown, the cheese is melted, and the sandwich is warmed through, about 4 minutes more.
Comment by Joan Denoo on October 16, 2014 at 9:17pm

Mequa , yes it is safe to eat and will last year. All you have to do is skim off the green mold. With the mold gone, the nice green kraut appears and with each succeeding month it became better and better. Just make sure air doesn't get to the kraut. That is why you have to use a heavy weight on it and skim carefully. It is very good for you, just full of probiotics. Northern latitude people survive on it. People in Asia make kimchee out of cabbage and it, too, is healthy. 

Comment by Plinius on October 16, 2014 at 11:29am

Thanks, it sounds good!

Comment by Loren Miller on October 16, 2014 at 11:19am

Mmmmm, a Reuben is a sandwich of exquisite design and gustatory delight!  You will need:

  • Sliced corn beef, not too thick
  • Swiss cheese (baby swiss is best)
  • Sauerkraut, drained
  • 1000 Island dressing
  • Two slices of rye bread

Assemble the first three ingredients between the slices of rye bread, adding 1000 Island dressing to taste, toast in a skillet ... then be prepared to be addicted!

Nom, nom, nom!!!

Comment by Plinius on October 16, 2014 at 11:10am

But what is a Reuben?

Comment by Loren Miller on October 16, 2014 at 11:08am

LOVE sauerkraut!  You can't make a proper Reuben without it!



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