Yield: approximately 3 cups
Set aside 4 to 5 outer leaves of the cabbage then cut the cabbage into quarters. Finely shred the quarters using a chef knife or fine slice setting on a mandolin. Place sliced cabbage in a large bowl, add the salt and gently massage salt into the cabbage until liquid begins to release.
After a few minutes of massaging let the cabbage rest and repeat as often as necessary until your bowl of cabbage is very juicy. (see note below)
Pack the entire cabbage mixture into a large jar or crock pressing the cabbage down until the liquid rises above the mixture. Place the reserved leaves over the top of your shredded cabbage mixture allowing them to extend partially up the side of the container you've chosen.
Fill a small glass jar with water (use one which will fit down nicely inside your larger jar or crock). This smaller jar will be the weight to hold your cabbage mixture down under the liquid level. If you are using a large crock, place a small saucer or plate under your small glass jar. This disperses the weight evenly over the cabbage mixture.
Cover everything with a clean dish towel.
Allow the cabbage kraut to ferment in a cool dark place for 3 -- 14 days depending on desired level of sourness and texture. (Note: begin tasting after 3 days)
Once desired texture and taste are achieved, store the sauerkraut in a sealed glass jar and refrigerate for up to several months.
When buying cabbage and planning to make your sauerkraut, use the cabbage right away when it is freshest. A fresh cabbage will release more liquid than an older drier one. Also keep in mind a red cabbage releases less liquid so for beginners success you might start with green cabbage.
If you are having trouble getting liquid to release from your cabbage massage you may add liquid but do not add plain water. Take some of your cabbage aside and juice it adding this cabbage juice back to your bowl as added liquid. Before adding any added liquid be sure you have massaged sufficient time, at least 20 total minutes of massage. (this doesn't count the resting time :>)
As you perfect your cabbage kraut you may wish to add additional ingredients and flavors. These may be added before fermentation or after. Some additions can include: any root or cruciferous vegetables (i.e. carrot, beet, and broccoli). Additional seasonings and herbs may also be added such as lemon juice, garlic, fresh dill or caraway.
Have fun, experiment and Enjoy
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