November 12, 2013
A simple recipe to make traditional, lacto-fermented, homemade sauerkraut using only cabbage, salt and time.
- 2 medium cabbage heads (about 4 to 5 total pounds, cored and finely shredded)
- 2 tablespoons sea or kosher salt
Toss cabbage and salt together in a large mixing bowl and begin to squeeze the cabbage and salt together with your hands, kneading it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the shredded cabbage. When the cabbage has become limp and releases its juice, transfer it to a sauerkraut crock or vegetable fermenter. Pack the salted cabbage into the crock or fermenter as tightly as you can, eliminating air bubbles. A kraut pounder is particularly helpful in packing the cabbage tight within the crock. Continue packing the cabbage into the container until the cabbage is completely submerged by liquid. Cover loosely and allow it to sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for at least 1 month and up to 6 months, testing the sauerkraut every few days until it is done to your liking. Transfer to the refrigerator or other cold storage where it should keep for at least 6 months and up to 1 year.
If scum appears floating in the brine of your homemade sauerkraut, simply spoon it off. You won’t be able to remove it all, but spoon of what you can and don’t worry about. The real key to preparing homemade sauerkraut, and any fermented food, is that the solid materials rest below the liquid. Fermentation is an anaerobic process and to expose your ferments to air increases the likelihood that they’ll become contaminated by stray microbes, yeasts and molds which is why crocks designed specifically for fermentation can help to eliminate the risk of microbial contamination and increase the reliability and consistency of your ferments.
Note that this is not my recipe, but one that I have made several times and it produces the best sauerkraut I've ever eaten. Credit goes to Nourished Kitchen