Basic Sauerkraut

Equipment you will need:
I actually recommend starting off with just 1/2-gallon jars, which you can order at Cultures for Health. As you get more adept at fermenting (and if you end up eating tons of it), there are bigger fermenting crocks available (also at Cultures for Health, and at the Canning Pantry, which might be a little cheaper).
So, using a 1/2 gallon jar, make sure you get the airlock that goes with it.

About 2 and 1/2 pounds of cabbage (green or red or combo)
About 2 T celtic sea salt

How to do it:

Chop the cabbage, not too finely. Put the cabbage in a large bowl as you chop (I use a huge wooden salad bowl for this). Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage, and mix it in. This is what will ultimately create your brine, which will ferment the cabbage and keep it from rotting. The salt also keeps the cabbage crunchy.
You can also add other vegetables. Onions, garlic, grated carrot, green beans, nasturtium seeds from our garden (they end up tasting like capers) are some of our favorites.
Mix all the ingredients together and put them in your 1/2 gallon jar, in batches. pressing down as hard as you can. Another thing you can do is take a tamper and crush the cabbage in the bowl a little before you put it in the jar. This will start the osmosis process (cabbage will start releasing water). When you place it in the jar, really push it down hard with your fist to pack it in.

I usually add about 1 cup of clean filtered water mixed with about 1/2 tsp of sea salt, then close the jar (with the air lock top), cover it and leave it. If in the next 24 hours or so, the water has not risen above the cabbage, add some more water with salt until it just covers it. Leave it to ferment. If it’s hot in the room, it will ferment more quickly. You can take some out and eat it after a while, see how you like it. I usually leave mine to ferment for between 2 and 6 weeks, though you can leave it much longer. Check out Sandor Katz’s books for great detail and ideas.

If you mix red and “green” cabbage (which is actually almost white), this is the color kraut you will get:

Sometimes I can get my daughter to eat this even if she’s not in the mood, just because it’s such a fabulous color!


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