Besides feeling fortunate that I got such a deal, I was also pleased that I found a manual to download for it. I took a quick look at the set up and was able to choose a blade without much guesswork.
My project? Sauerruben with turnips from my fall garden. Even though I thought I planted them late, they have thrived in our delightful autumn weather, and definitely need to be harvested. Last spring I made a small batch of sauerruben in a quart canning jar. DH didn't care for it as well as sauerkraut, but I loved it. Now that I have some fermenting crocks, I can make a better batch.
The King Kutter was quick and easy to use, and the suction base worked much better than I'd hoped. I figured this would be a test batch in terms of size and shape of the cut pieces, so I didn't worry about uniformity. I'll try out different blades as I go along, and with practice my consistency will get better. I can tell you that it was a breeze to process a basketful of turnips and clean up the machine.
I have two books that I turn to when I'm wanting to lacto-ferment something: Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, and Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante. Sandor's method uses only the turnip juice, obtained by pounding and pressing (right side of above photo, I use a potato masher). This is the traditional way to do it. The other book has recipes using salt water (brine) to finish covering the vegetable, if enough juice can't be pounded out. Always being one of the easier route, I opted for that recipe. Actually, I've made sauerkraut with both methods, and prefer the one with the added brine. Not sure why, it just tastes better to me.
The one thing I don't have is lids for my crocks. Those are flat, round pieces of wood, sometimes with holes in them. They don't sit on top of the crock, but rather fit snugly inside it to keep the contents submerged under the brine. This is important to prevent mold from forming and decay from setting in. This is a problem I've had using quart canning jars to make sauerkraut; it was difficult to keep the contents under the brine. A few places like Lehman's and Simply Natural sell fermenting lids. For me however, the price is high especially once shipping is added. I looked around for another alternative and happily, have one 6½ inch diameter Blue Willow dessert plate that fit perfectly. I weighed it under the brine with a pint canning jar half filled with water. There's just enough room around the rim to slip a butter knife in and lift the saucer. I placed the crock in my new pantry, and covered the whole thing with a clean cotton dishcloth.
I also remembered to label the crock with contents and date, because I'll be able to start another batch in a week or so and need to keep track of which batch is which.
My conclusion? That the King Kutter is a fabulous kitchen tool. Quick and easy to set up, quick and easy to use, and super quick and easy to clean. I'm already beginning to wonder how I ever lived without it.
Test Driving My King Kutter © November 2010