Here it is: a super simple way to make traditional fermented sauerkraut! Tangy, crunchy and laden with probiotics, sauerkraut (and versions of it the world over) supports health and adds big flavor as a condiment or vegetable side dish. I mix it into meatloaf!
- 9 cups shredded or very finely sliced fresh cabbage plus one outer leaf left whole
- 2 tsp non-iodized sea salt
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- Cutting board
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Large mouth canning jar (1 quart or 2 quart size), plus lid
- 4 oz. jelly jar or other small jar, or glass paperweight
- Large mixing bowl
- Kraut pounder, potato masher or wooden spoon
Wash the quart jar, lid and jelly jar or paperweight in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry. Put the shredded cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss and let sit for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours in the fridge.
The salt will leach the juice out of the cabbage. Add the shredded carrot. Wash your hands with regular hand soap (not antibacterial), rinse and dry with a paper towel. Mix the veggies with your bare, clean hands, squeezing and kneading, for about 5 minutes. The cabbage will begin to soften and leach more juice.
Pack the veggies into the quart or 2-quart jar by handfuls, using the kraut pounder, potato masher or wooden spoon to pack it tightly down. Pour any remaining juice from the bowl into the jar. The fluid should completely cover the top of the veggies. Place the reserved cabbage leaf on top and weigh down with the jelly jar or paperweight.
You can put clean rocks or weights into the jar to make sure it holds the veggies down under the juice. Wipe the rim of the large jar clean and put on the lid. Place the jar in a fairly warm area, such as your kitchen counter, and allow it to ferment for at least 4 days. Air bubbles will form in the mixture as fermentation progresses.
At least once a day, loosen the lid and allow air to escape. Press down on the weight, forcing air bubbles out and settling the veggies below the surface of the juice. On the fourth day, taste the sauerkraut. When it tastes sufficiently tangy, it’s ready!
Continue fermenting for up to two weeks according to your taste preference. When you consider it ready, remove the weight and leaf, put the lid back on tightly and store in the fridge. It will keep for up to 6 months.