Simple, Healthy, Sour Kraut!
1 medium cabbage
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons salt (I use Redmonds’ RealSalt because it is a product of the USA and contains trace minerals. However, table salt is fine as long as it is not a reduced-sodium product)
Makes 1 Quart
Clean your cabbage of any damaged leaves. A fresh, organic cabbage that doesn’t have bruises is best. Rinse it with cool water and cut the core out of the center. Discard core.
Chop the cabbage as if you were shredding it for slaw. It is important to have uniform pieces so the fermentation can happen evenly. Put the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl.
This is the texture you should have. Now add the salt. The salt is going to draw out the juices of the cabbage and control the speed of fermentation.
Now you need to bruise the cabbage and mix the salt in well so the juices can come out. I do this with a wooden pounder. Any wooden spoon or even a meat pounder will work.
You will need to pound the cabbage for 10 minutes. (In the photo above, I am making a batch with several heads of cabbage. If you do a bigger batch, pound it 10 minutes per head of cabbage.)
Here is how the juices should look like.
It is ready to go in the jar.
A quart jar should hold one head of cabbage. The jar above is a gallon jar because we eat a lot of kraut. I find salad tongs helpful for getting the kraut into the jar. Pack it down with the wooden spoon as you go. The juices should rise above the cabbage.
Leave one inch of air space at the top of the jar, and make sure the cabbage is submerged underneath the salty juice.
Now cover the top of the jar with plastic wrap and a rubber band. The kraut will rise in the jar as it ferments. The plastic wrap will help make the jar air-tight. (This is important as good sauerkraut requires this an-aerobic environment to develop. Don’t open the jar until at least three days have passed… you will let air in and stop the proper fermentation process.) I then put the jar lid on to protect the plastic wrap from getting punctured.
Place the jar in a bowl or saucer that can catch any juices that may bubble up out of the lid. Write the date you made it on the jar or calendar, so you will know how long to leave it set.
Leave this sit at room temperature for at least three days… longer if it is cool (under 75 degrees) in your house. You will see little bubbles develop in it. Below is the finished product...notice the air bubbles and the color is slightly duller. After three days, or when you are satisfied it fermented long enough, store it in the refrigerator. It is ready to eat...
Kraut...a healthy source of probiotics and a great tasting companion to our meats!