Homemade Sauerkraut

How To Make SauerkrautIngredients:

5 lb shreadded cabbage
3 tbsp pickling salt

Brine (if needed)
4c water
1.5 tbsp pickling salt
Bring water to a boil and add the pickeling salt, allow to cool before adding to cabbage.

Wash and shread the cabbage. Place a handful of cabbage at the bottom of a large crock and sprinkle with salt. Repeat in layers, placing any remaining salt on the top. Let this mixture sit for at least two hours so the cabbage can begin to release water. After two hours, pound the cabbage with a potato masher until the liquid has covered the top of the cabbage. If the cabbage does not produce enough liquid, you may add the brine. The brine level must cover the top of the cabbage.

Cover the top of the crock (if you don’t have a lid, a plate works well) and let the mixture sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours, check on the mixture and remove any “scum” or bubbles that have formed on the top of the liquid. Make sure the liquid level is still above the top of the cabbage. You will now need to place a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it down below the top of the liquid during fermentation. If your crock did not come with a weight, you can use ziplock bags filled with water or a heavy plate to weight it down.

Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 2-6 weeks for full fermentation (ours sat for a full 2 months, but it was in the basement so fermentation may have taken longer). Check on things every few days to remove any scum from the top.

Finished sauerkraut can be stored in sterilized jars for several months in the refrigerator, or it may be processed in the canner for shelf storage. Keep in mind that the heat from the canning process will make the sauerkraut less crunchy. If your sauerkraut is too salty, it may be rinsed before use to remove some of the salt.

I never liked sauerkraut until we made it ourselves (I think it was due to the mushy texture of the store bought kraut), but the homemade version won me over. Credit for the recipe goes to the writers of the book Pickled Pantry.