Does anyone know an easy and reliable way to make sauerkraut?

I have some garden fresh cabbage that I really want to turn into sauerkraut, but I'm not exactly sure what to do. I have googled it and seen different things, so I'm curious to see if anyone has done it before with good results. Thanks!

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3 Comments

bigpan June 17, 2012
You are very energetic !
I would buy a jar of quality European made kraut and add anything you want to make it yours.
 

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petitbleu June 17, 2012
I love fermented sauerkraut. I have a 3-gallon crock with a lid, and I try to have a batch going at all times. The process is super simple. Shred the cabbage and mix with kosher salt (1 tablespoon per pound of cabbage is the ratio I use). Really mix the salt in well, pounding and squeezing the cabbage. You want the cabbage to exude its juices to the point that the juices cover the cabbage. This may not happen, depending on how watery your cabbage is (sounds silly, but not all cabbages are super-watery). No worries, simply add water to cover. I do this in a large bowl.
Once you've macerated the cabbage until it is fairly pliable and has exuded a lot of water, pack it into a crock or food safe bucket or even a large mason jar. You want to really pack it firmly into the vessel, and the brine should cover the cabbage completely. To keep the cabbage submerged, you may want to place a small plate on the surface of the cabbage (this works if using a crock); my favorite method is to fill a half-gallon plastic storage bag with water and place that over the cabbage. This way, the weight is evenly distributed and covers the cabbage perfectly.
Now you just have to wait. If using a mason jar, make sure the lid is not screwed on tight. You want gases to be able to escape, or you could have a very ugly situation on your hands. Your kraut will start to bubble and smell like something fermented. You'll want to stir the kraut as often as you think about it. Sometimes, I stir every day. Sometimes, only once a week. It's not imperative that you do this every day.
Taste as this develops--you'll notice the flavor changing, and I pretty much just let my kraut go until I like the flavor. If you don't stir reasonably often, the kraut will develop a layer of mold on top. This is no big deal. Just scrape the mold off the top and keep going. The only thing you should worry about is if you see black mold, if the kraut is slimy, or if it smells acrid or putrid. You'll know if the batch has gone bad. Sort of like knowing when milk has gone bad. It's obvious. Having said that, I have never had a batch go bad on me. It's just something to be aware of.
On that note, make sure the vessel you put the kraut in has been sterilized. That way, you don't introduce any strange bacteria from the get-go.
But this process is painfully easy. I highly recommend it. Beyond that, the finished kraut, refrigerated, keeps forever. Enjoy.
 
chefsusie June 17, 2012
I have done it with my Grandfather. Its a pretty simple procedure. Clean cabbage, thinly slice and salt cabbage. Salt and use a brine (if needed) Cover. When gas bubbles form: fermenation has begun. remove scum. Store in cool place. Fermenation takes 3-6 weeks. Cabbage and pickling salt and time: some tasty sauerkraut! Also a food that has natural pre-biotics!
 
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