Ingredients Used and Directions For Preparing Foods
Step 1 - Selecting the cabbage
For the best sauerkraut, use firm heads of fresh cabbage. For best results, wash and shred the cabbage and start making the kraut between 24 and 48 hours after harvest.
Step 2 - Wash the cabbage
Work with about 5 pounds of cabbage at a time. Discard outer leaves. Rinse heads under cold running water and drain.
Step 3 - Shred the cabbage
Cut heads in quarters and remove cores. Shred or slice to a thickness of a quarter.
Step 4 - Preparing for Fermentation
Put cabbage in a suitable fermentation container
Step 5 - Repeat steps 2 to 4 for the remaining cabbage
Repeat shredding, salting, and packing until all cabbage is in the container. Be sure it is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 or 5 inches above the cabbage.
Step 6 - Adding plates, weights and sealing
Add plate and weights; cover container with a clean bath towel.
Step 7 - Store and ferment
Store at 70º to 75ºF while fermenting. At temperatures between 70º and 75ºF, kraut will be fully fermented in about 3 to 4 weeks; at 60º to 65ºF, fermentation may take 5 to 6 weeks. At temperatures lower than 60ºF, kraut may not ferment. Above 75ºF, kraut may become soft.
If you weigh the cabbage down with a brine-filled bag, do not disturb the crock until normal fermentation is completed (when bubbling ceases). If you use jars as weight, you will have to verify the kraut 2 to 3 times each week and remove scum if it forms.
Step 8 - Finishing and storing
Fully fermented kraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months or it may be canned using a boiling water bath canner, as follows:
Hot pack – Bring kraut and liquid slowly to a boil in a large kettle, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fill jars rather firmly with kraut and juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Raw pack – Fill jars firmly with kraut and cover with juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.