Growing up with a full blooded German Grandfather in the house, I have eaten my share of saurkraut, but only in the last couple of years have I learned how to make it myself. Let me tell you, the store bought stuff doesn’t hold a candle to homemade!
Not only does it taste great, it is full of natural probiotics, which help your immune system, your digestion, and an abundance of other health benefits.
I usually make mine in a 2 gallon crock, plus two or three quart canning jars. You can make it in several quart jars or in one gallon jars as well. I usually use 3 to 4 heads of cabbage for a batch of this size.
After the cabbage is finely chopped you can start to layer it in the crock, or, if using jars, place into large bowl. For approximately every 5 lbs of cabbage, add 4 tbsp. of canning salt, not iodized table salt. You mix and mash with your hands until cabbage juice starts to flow. I often use a wooden mashing tool, like the one in the picture, to help smash the cabbage.
Good activity for when you are mad or frustrated! Take it out on the cabbage! Lol
Your cabbage may not have made enough juice to completely cover it, if not you can make brine by mixing 1 tbsp. salt into a quart jar of water, stirring until salt is dissolved. You then pour the brine over the cabbage until it is well covered, about an inch, above.
The next step is to make sure the cabbage doesn’t float to the top by filling a freezer bag with water and placing in another freezer bag. This you place on top of the cabbage in the crock. Over this I place a towel, and then a plate to keep out anything that shouldn’t be in there.
If using jars, just make sure the lids are on, but not tightened all the way, because the gases need to escape during fermentation.
Now all it needs is time. Fermentation will begin in a day and can take 3 – 5 weeks, depending on temperature. After 3 weeks taste for desired tartness. When it is to your liking, you can either store in the refrigerator, or you can can it according to your canner’s instructions. Note, canning will destroy any probiotics, but the taste will be fine, and you will be able to store it anywhere.
Just a note, never use aluminum utensils and always sanitize bowls, crocks and other utensils before starting with boiling water. You only want the good bacteria to work, not the bad ones!
After discovering how easy it is to make our own saurkraut, it has become a Fall tradition that we look forward to every year!
Here’s hoping it will be for you as well!