Last week when I started the sauerkraut, I told someone I’d do a post “tomorrow” and that’s been over a week ago. Sorry for my tardiness!
I had two heads of cabbage and intended to use them both. I can actually put three heads in this fermenting box. But, I do not have my kraut cutter here and the only knife I have is a small paring knife so after the first head of cabbage was shredded with that tiny little knife, I said . . that looks like enough cabbage for today. I’m going to make cabbage rolls tomorrow with the other head of cabbage.
I will tell you how I do it but please Google “How to make sauerkraut” and you will get lots of info. It is so simple. Please . . do this for me: If you want to make sauerkraut, before this week is up, do it! Stop thinking about it and just do it. Start with one head of cabbage. Start with a Mason jar if you don’t have a fermenting box or crock.
Here’s how I do it:
- Wash and shred the cabbage. Save the outer leaves.
- Weigh the shredded cabbage. I only have a small kitchen scale with me so I weigh it in batches then add it all together.
- Calculate the amount of salt needed. I use 2% salt. Some use up to 3%. If my shredded cabbage weighs 22 oz, then it’s 22 x .02 = .44 oz. This is why I use grams. I my cabbage weighs 60 grams, then it’s 600 x .02 = 12 grams.
- I use either Kosher salt or canning salt. I don’t know if that matters but I always have both so that’s what I use.
- Add the salt to the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and massage with your hands or pound with a cabbage pounder (or a rubber mallet – anything. I’ve sometimes used a glass jar in a plastic bowl) until the cabbage has released enough liquid to cover the cabbage.
- Sometimes storebought cabbage is a bit dry and you have to add some salty liquid. Make a 2% brine. Weigh the water as you did the cabbage and add 2% salt.
- If using something besides a fermenting box, weight the cabbage so it stays beneath the liquid. Here’s where you use the leaves. Cover the cabbage with the leaves, then put something on top. In the past, I’ve used whatever I could find that would work.
- You will probably want a vapor lock of some kind. See photos below.
- Leave the cabbage on the counter for 1 – 4 weeks or however long it takes for it to get to your desired stage of sour!
You want carbon dioxide to be able to escape but you do not want air to get into your fermenting vessel.
The fermenting box has this little top that you squeeze down. All the air in the container is forced out through the little hole in the top, and the liquid will come out the little hole. That way the air bubbles can escape but air cannot get in. Place the lid on it and let it ferment and turn that cabbage into yummy kraut.
If you’re using the Mason jar method of fermenting, these lids are the vapor lock fermenting lids I prefer. There are some that are less expensive but then you have to drill into a Mason jar lid. Make sure you have a wide mouth Mason jar before ordering these because Mason jars are not easy to find these days.
Also, if you’re going to do much kraut making, you might want to order some fermenting weights. My weights are older. The ones in the link look a little different and they look way easier to get out of the jar than mine are.
Make sure that the cabbage stays covered in liquid!
Be sure that whatever lids and weights you order, you’re getting them for wide mouth jars. Some of those things are, or were at one time, available for both wide mouth and regular. It’s all so much easier in a wide mouth jar.
Depending on the temp in my kitchen, I usually start tasting the kraut after about two weeks.
That’s about all there is to it. It sounds like a lot of trouble and scary but it isn’t and it’s quick and it’s so worth it.