Cabbage that is. Sauerkraut has been around for hundreds of years and my husband is making sure the art of making it doesn’t die in our family, at least not yet. He really likes that stringy sour cabbage, me on the other hand not so much. I have tried our homemade kraut and it is better tasting than the stuff out of a can and it smells better when it is cooking, too. So here’s how we make it.
Supplies you will need:
2 food grade 5 gallon buckets (or you can use a crock if you have one)
Cabbage cutter (ours is from my husbands Grandmother)
Tamper (optional, you can pack it with your hands)
Knife, measuring spoons
Cutting board (optional)
Canning or pickling salt ( regular salt will not do)
Dinner plate the size of your bucket
Gallon jug of water (or some type of weight)
10 medium cabbage (makes about 20 lbs of kraut)
Step 1– Peel off the loose outer layers, cut in half, then cut out the core.
Step 2– Take half the cabbage and run if across the Kraut cutter blades a few times then discard this small amount. We like to do that just to make sure the blade is clean. (We usually don’t discard the scraps, it will be a treat for the chickens later.)
Continue shredding until you have 5 lbs.
Step 3– Place your 5 lbs into one of the 5 gallon buckets, add 3 tablespoons of canning salt and mix thoroughly. I enjoy running my fingers though the tangled strings of cabbage. Then let it rest until it starts to sweat, tamp down with a tamper, until the juice comes to surface. Set this bucket aside.
Step 4 – Repeat Step 1 and 2 then place this 5 lbs into bucket #2 then add salt and mix together, let it rest. We do the second batch in a separate bucket so the salt gets mixed into the 5 lb of cabbage evenly. This batch can be added to the first batch when you are ready to mix the salt into the next batch of cabbage. When you add the second batch to the first, do not mix together and make sure that you tamp it down. Make sure you tamp down the cabbage after each addition.
Step 5 – After you have processed all the cabbage and it is tamped down and moisture is coming to the top of the cabbage, cover with cheesecloth, making sure to tuck in around the sides of cabbage. Then press a plate down on top, now set your weight on top of the plate. Cover with a towel. Keep your bucket in a cool place.
NOTE: If there is not enough juice to cover the cabbage you can make a brine to add to it:
Brine: Combine one quart of water and 1 1/2 tbsp. in pot and bring to a boil. Let the brine cool and add to your packed cabbage so there is enough to cover with about 1/2 inch. Then cover with cheesecloth plate and weight.
It takes about 6 weeks before the cabbage is officially Sauerkraut, but in that time you want to check on your bucket and clean the scum off the top 3 to 4 times a week. A few days into the process gas bubbles will form on top of the liquid, that’s a good thing, fermentation is taking place. We usually take a test sample at about 4 weeks to see how it is progressing.
Now of course results may vary depending on conditions, and we are not responsible for any poor results or failures.