Making a sauerkraut stomper, also known as a kraut pounder or masher, is a straightforward DIY project that allows you to easily press down and compact the cabbage or other vegetables when making sauerkraut or other fermented foods. Here’s how you can make one:
Materials You’ll Need:
- Wooden Dowel or Handle: You’ll need a wooden dowel or handle that’s about 12-18 inches long and around 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Hardwood like oak or maple is a good choice because it’s durable and food-safe.
- Wooden Block: You’ll need a small wooden block, about 2-3 inches in height and width. This will be used as the pounding end of your stomper.
- Saw: A saw for cutting the wooden dowel and block to the desired lengths.
- Sandpaper: To smooth the edges and surfaces of the wooden pieces.
- Food-Safe Finish (Optional): A food-grade mineral oil or beeswax finish, if you want to seal the wood and make it easier to clean.
- Safety First:
- Ensure you’re wearing appropriate safety gear, such as safety goggles and gloves, when working with wood.
- Cut the Wooden Dowel and Block:
- Measure and mark the wooden dowel to the desired length, typically around 12-18 inches.
- Measure and mark the wooden block to create a flat top for pounding. The block should be about 2-3 inches in both height and width.
- Use a saw to cut both the wooden dowel and block to their respective lengths.
- Smooth the Edges and Surfaces:
- Use sandpaper to smooth the cut edges and surfaces of both the dowel and block. This will help prevent splinters and make the stomper more comfortable to use.
- Optional Food-Safe Finish:
- If you want to seal the wood and make it easier to clean, apply a food-grade mineral oil or beeswax finish to the wooden pieces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying.
- Assemble the Stomper:
- Place the flat end of the wooden block on one end of the dowel.
- If desired, secure the block to the dowel using food-safe wood glue. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly before using the stomper.
- Test and Use:
- Your sauerkraut stomper is now ready to use. Place it inside your fermentation vessel with the cabbage or vegetables and use it to press down and compact the contents during the fermentation process.
- Cleaning and Maintenance:
- After each use, wash the stomper with warm, soapy water and allow it to dry completely before storing it in a clean, dry place. Reapply a food-safe finish as needed to maintain the wood’s quality.
Your homemade sauerkraut stomper is a handy tool for anyone who enjoys making fermented foods at home. It helps ensure that your vegetables are tightly packed during fermentation, promoting a successful and flavorful fermentation process.