Total Time: 7 days; 1 hour active
Servings: makes 4 about quarts, 64 servings
Sauerkraut is really easy to make and once you've made your own delicious batch, you'll find so many ways to incorporate it into your meals. The amount of salt in kraut is flexible—the more you put in, the longer it takes to fully ferment, so after you make it once or twice, you can play with reducing it, if you want to make the process go faster.
4 pounds green cabbage
2 large carrots
2 tablespoons sea salt (not iodized)
Kraut juice from another batch of live fermented kraut, optional
Ceramic crock or cylindrical food grade plastic or glass container
Plate or non-reactive pan that can fit inside the above and reach the edges
You'll need a ceramic crock or a food-grade plastic or glass container that can hold two gallons (a cylindrical shape works best). The kraut will shrink as it ferments.
Using a sharp knife, a food processor fitted with the slicing blade, or a vegetable slicer, thinly slice the cabbage. As you slice, transfer the cabbage to a large bowl, sprinkling salt on each addition. Shred the carrots, and add them, sprinkling with the salt. Using clean hands, knead and squeeze the cabbage and carrots to mix them and break them down as much as possible. Take handfuls and pack them in the crock, pressing down with your fists or the bottom of a clean bottle. Pack all the cabbage and carrots in the crock.
Once the shredded veggies are packed in it, press them down and cover them with a plate or round non-reactive pan that can fit inside the crock or container, but which covers the contents and reaches to the edges of the container. On top of the plate you will need to place a weight, like a gallon jug, or a large bowl filled with cans of food. Then, place a cloth or towel over the crock or container opening.
Place the crock in an out-of-the-way place. If the area is warm, the kraut will ferment more quickly; if it's cooler, the process will take longer. Check on the kraut and press the plate down every few hours, until the cabbage has given off enough liquid to submerge the vegetables. If there is not enough liquid to completely cover the cabbage and carrots within 24 hours, mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of water and pour it over the vegetables, repeating until they are covered.
Leave the weight and the cloth on, and check on the fermentation every couple of days. If you see any surface mold, simply scrape it off with a spoon and discard. As long as the vegetables are under the brine, they are fine. Start tasting in about one week. When it reaches your preferred level of tanginess, pack in jars and refrigerate. It will last for a few months.
Tips & Notes
Variations are endless, add grated ginger, whole spices like caraway, fennel, or chile flakes. Shred other vegetables, including red cabbage, beets, turnips, parsnips, kale, broccoli, etc. Substitute equal weights of other vegetables for some or all of the cabbage.
8 calories, 0 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 243 mg. sodium, 2 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 0 g. protein