Early this summer I bought a one gallon crock with lid and an old fashioned slaw cutter from a lady who used them for years. She said it was her second husbands and it came from Austria.
It even has his last name printed on the side.
On the first of August, our local grocery store and huge heads of cabbage for 49 cents a pound. I bought 2 big heads to attempt to make sauerkraut for the first time.
To begin the process, remove large outer leaves and save them for later.Cut cabbage into fourths and remove the cores.
place in slaw cutter and cut, or whatever means you will use to cut the cabbage.
You can also use a food processor with a shredding blade, knife or mandolin.
Cabbage should be cut very thin about 1/16th of an inch!
After each quarter of cabbage is cut, and 1 tsp of canning salt or Himalayan Pink salt, do not use regular table salt.
After you add the salt, take a wooden tamper and crush the salt into the cabbage until you start to get some juice out it. Continue this process until all the cabbage is used adding salt and tamping as you go.
Remove any big pieces of cabbage.
10 lb of cabbage is about the right amount for a gallon size crock!
Be sure to leave 2 or 3 inches of space from the top because as it ferments it might bubble up and you don’t want it spilling out over the sides.
This is how much brine is going to come out, you want enough to completely cover the top of the cabbage. I got in there with clean hands and worked it until I felt there was enough brine.
You can let it set for a while if needed to allow the salt to get into the cabbage.
Once you get enough brine, then cover with those big cabbage leaves you saved in the beginning.
Then place a saucer or plate upside down on top of the leaves.
Fill a gallon Ziploc bag half way with salt water (you want salt water just in case the bag breaks it will act like brine for your sauerkraut.) The bag will expand over the top of your cabbage creating a seal to keep as much air out of the cabbage as possible.
My crock came with this lid. The lady I bought it from said her husband made the lid for it. She said for me to put a rock over the hole. I’m not quite sure the purpose of the hole, maybe it so you can peek inside?
I found this nice rock and I placed it inside a plastic baggie and covered the hole.
If you don’t have a lid, you can cover with plastic wrap, place a couple of hand towels over and tie down with a bungee cord or large rubber band to hold them in place. Place in a cool dark place.
I put the date on the outside, this should ferment for about 4 – 6 weeks.
This is what it looked like after 27 days, I tasted it and it was sour enough for me!
Some recipes say to check daily and remove any scum that forms on the top, but I only checked it once in those 27 days and I didn’t have any scum to remove. I’m wondering if it had something to do with the water in the Ziploc bag?
The lady who gave me this recipe, said I could just place it in sterilized canning jars, add a lid, and keep in the refrigerator. She said by doing this and not processing it, it will have all the benefits of the probiotics created during fermentation.
So that is what I decided to do. I only got 3 quarts, so I’m sure they will be used up in a few months. She told me she has kept this for over a year in the fridge. It will continue to slowly ferment so every so often you might want to remove the lid and release the gas from the fermentation.
I am including a recipe from the National Center For Home Food Preparation,
if you want to follow that instead of mine.
I’m also realizing this is something that I can do all year long! There is nothing like homemade sauerkraut!
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