Sauerkraut Oh Baby!
Super easy, beautiful, scrumptious, and bursting with beneficial bacteria so so good for you!
2 head Red Cabbage, Shredded
½ teaspoon Salt to taste (optional, I leave this out)
1 teaspoon Probiotics (optional)
This works with red or green cabbage. I used red cabbage, since I haven’t been able to get good fresh green cabbage lately.
Basically, sauerkraut is just shredded cabbage that has been left in a jar at room temp for about a week. That’s it. Unbelievably simple.
Here are details:
Wash the cabbage, peel off and reserve 1-2 of the outer large leaves, and then shred the rest. I used the shred blade of my Cuisinart, but it goes quickly by hand, too if you have a good sharp knife.
If you are making a gallon of kraut, you will need about 6 quarts of cabbage, because you will tamp it down tight. Put the shredded cabbage in a large bowl. If you want to add salt or probiotics, do that now and work them into the cabbage thoroughly with your hands. If you have good fresh cabbage, there will be plenty of juice, the basis for the brine.
Now pack your kraut maker with the cabbage. My kraut maker is a gallon-sized glass jar. Simple. You can also make lesser amounts in smaller jars. I’ve made as little as a quart using Ball jars.
Choose a jar or crock with a wide mouth, since you will need to get your fist in there to tamp it down. You want to pack the cabbage in very very tightly, so there is as little air as possible.
Keep filling the jar and tamping down the cabbage until the jar is full.
You are going to put a cover on the jar, and two things are necessary:
1) the cabbage juice must cover the cabbage. For the cabbage to ferment properly, it must be covered with juice or water. If it is exposed to air, it can go bad. If there is not enough juice, add a little spring water. Then find something to tamp down the shredded cabbage so it stays under water. You can use the large cabbage leaves you reserved, or a weight of some sort.
2) the jar must be covered and put in a cool place to ferment. Don’t seal the jar tightly, as gases and some fluid need to escape during the fermentation.
I use large cabbage leaves to cover the shredded cabbage and my ‘weight’ is a small glass spice bottle filled with water. I cover the top of the jar with several layers of cheesecloth, which I push down fairly hard against the spice bottle. Then I secure it tightly with a rubber band. This makes the spice bottle act as a weight against the cabbage, and covers the jar while allowing it to breathe.
When done, place the jar in a cool place away from sunlight. Be sure you put the jar on something to catch the excess fluid escaping during fermentation. You may need to add small amounts of water throughout the fermentation process to keep your cabbage underwater.
It will take about a week to sour. You will be able to tell by the smell when it is done.