REF: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
½ gallon mason jar or 2 quart-sized wide-mouth jars
Large wooden spoon
Large metal bowl
A potato masher
1 large head of cabbage, heavy and dense or 2 medium heads of cabbage
2 T sea salt
½ cup whey
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 onion, sliced thinly
Sauerkraut can be made with cabbage only, but I often add the extra veggies to give added taste and color. Core and slice cabbage into thin shreds. I like this better than grating. I discard a few of the outer leaves of the cabbage. Then I cut it in quarters and core it. I take each quarter and run it through my food processor with a slicing disk. If you don’t have a food processor with a slicing disk, you can do the cutting by hand.
• Put the cabbage into a large bowl.
• Add extra veggies if you are using them.
• Stir them up to mix up the extra veggies.
• Sprinkle salt over cabbage.
• Sprinkle the whey over the cabbage (If you have it)
Using a large spoon mix well. Now take the potato masher and begin pounding and mixing and pounding the cabbage. You will notice that soon the volume begins to reduce. I will let my cabbage sit for a while and then pound and mix again for a few minutes. I take about 30 to 45 minutes to do this, taking breaks as needed.
When this process is done spoon cabbage mixture into the jar. Having a nice wide canning funnel sitting on top of the jar helps this process. Use a wooden spoon to pack and push the cabbage to the bottom of the jar and let any liquid that is there rise to the top.
After all the cabbage has been put in the jar and packed down you can add more water if needed. You need to make sure water is covering the top of the cabbage.
Reach your hand inside to push it to the edges of the jar. Using your hand push and make sure the bag is tightly packed around the inside edge of the jar. The water provides the weight to press the cabbage down and keep it down and the bag helps to ensure an oxygen-less environment for the cabbage to ferment.
Fermentation can only take place in the absence of oxygen. So, it is important for the bag to seal all the way to the edges and for the water weight to keep the cabbage under the layer of liquid.
Put the lid on the jar and set it on your counter for 3 days.
During those 3 days, you will watch your cabbage transform into sauerkraut. Bubbles seen around the glass is normal. After 3 days you can remove the bag and put the sauerkraut into the fridge. It will taste better if left for a few more days.
Temperatures are important too. Fermenting needs to take place between 68 and 72 degrees, officially. I have had success with nighttime temps dropping below 68 in my kitchen and going above 72 during the day if we are doing a lot of baking.
If for some reason your sauerkraut did not turn out, that is ok. Toss it and try again! This is an art and a skill to learn. There is a reason you can’t find fresh, fermented sauerkraut at the stores! It is something that can only be made one batch at a time right in your own kitchen. Now you have the ability to provide a health packed food for your family such as this!!