Have you ever gone on a stint where absolutely nothing tastes good to you? I’m not sure, but I think it’s the Lyme treatment but all I want is sauerkraut. So I was buying it two jars at a time. Not cheap my friends! I joined a CSA this summer and I had cabbage coming out of my ears. I made soup with it, roasted it, sauteed it and each time I wanted to gag. I don’t blame the cabbage, really I don’t. So I decided to try making my own sauerkraut. After all, how hard could it be!? It really wasn’t hard at all but I did learn a couple things with my first batch. I think the amount of time you ferment it to your particular tastes is important. My first batch tasted a bit too salty for me and I’m not quite sure why. My second batch is still fermenting but stay tuned. I’m going to let it ferment for longer this time and I think the head of cabbage this time was bigger, so I’m hoping the ratio of salt to cabbage is better. I also cut the cabbage thinner for this second batch. Please note: I used himalayan salt. You can use sea salt but please do not use your run of the mill iodized salt. A good quality sea salt or himalayan salt is what you want.
Here are the very simple directions. FYI…the mashing is very therapeutic. If you make your own send me a message or comment below and let me know how it went!!
1 medium head of cabbage, himalayan or sea salt, medium bowl, a wooden spoon, mason jar (I used quart)
Per one medium head of cabbage, sprinkle 1.5 tbsp salt onto cut up cabbage and let sit for 10 minutes in a medium bowl. You will want to remove the outer wilted leaves of the cabbage, remove the core and cut the cabbage very thin and as uniform as you can get it.
After it sits, mash the cabbage with your hands until it starts to release its juices, about 15 minutes. You want a nice amount of liquid at the bottom of your bowl. This is a great exercise if you need to get some frustrations out!
Once you have a good amount of juice in the bottom of the bowl, grab your mason jar and start packing the cabbage in. You’ll want to put a few spoonfuls in and pack it down, repeat etc. so there are no air bubbles. This also allows more liquid to be released. Repeat this process until all the cabbage is in the jar and be sure to leave about 2 inches at the top so the cabbage can expand as it ferments. If you don’t have enough liquid at the top to cover the cabbage you can make a brine. It’s important that ALL the cabbage is covered so that you don’t get any mold. Recipe for brine solution: Dissolve 1 tbsp salt (himalayan or sea salt) in 4 cups water. You can keep this in the fridge if you don’t use it all.
Ok so now you have all your cabbage in the jar, covered completely. Put the jar in a dark place away from direct sunlight and cover very loosely. I put it on a plate with a paper towel underneath because it will expand and leak out of the jar. I kept checking it every day to make sure there was enough liquid at the top.
As I mentioned before, I fermented the first jar for about a week. That, for me, was not long enough. But I don’t think I cut the cabbage thin enough. Each individual’s tastes will vary so taste it after about a week and see how it tastes to you. If it’s not to your liking then just allow it to ferment longer. Once it is tangy enough for your taste, simply move it to the refrigerator. I have read it keeps up to 6 months in the fridge. I know it wouldn’t last that long in my house!