How to Make Sauerkraut
- Cut the cabbage into quarters for easy slicing and slice the cabbage into very thin ribbons. A food processor can speed up the process if you have one.
- Take a large bowl and put the finely chopped cabbage into it. Dust salt over it. Mold and squish the cabbage/salt using your hands for around 10 minutes. The cabbage will start discharging liquid in a couple of minutes and by the end, there should be enough liquid brine to swathe the cabbage in a jar. Include caraway seeds at this point if you are using them.
- Load the cabbage into jars(s) or fermentation crock. Dispense the liquid from the bowl into the jar. Add just enough water to make sure the water/brine covers the cabbage fully, if needed.
- Now include fermentation weights and fermentation seal (or use the fermentation crock). If you are only using a mason jar, this could also be done by adding a smaller jar that just fits perfectly inside the cover of the Mason jar. Covering both the jars using a cloth and a rubber band.
- The fermentation process will begin within a day and take 2-5 weeks depending on temperature. Check for the desired tartness after two weeks.
The sauerkraut gets its best flavor within a 2-3 week period. The only measure here is the ‘taste’; check and stop fermentation if the desired taste is there.
Note:It is usual to see bubbles, white scum, or foam on top during the fermentation process, but there should not be mold. If there is, scuff it off the top; the cabbage below the brine level should still be good.
- It can be eaten right away once fermented or stored and used for up to 6 months.
Fermented foods have a long history in numerous societies, with sauerkraut being a standout amongst the most popular traditional, fermented dish of cabbage. The Roman journalist Cato (in his De Agri Cultura) and Columella (in his De re Rustica) also specified fermenting cabbages and turnips with salt.