Since cabbage grows so easily (and big!) here in the Cariboo, we often end up with heads over 10 pounds. What to do with all that cabbage? That’s easy. Here’s how to make Sauerkraut!
We do keep several heads in the Cold Room and they will easily keep down there until past Christmas with no problems.
We also eat a lot of Coleslaw in the Fall. We mix the red and green Cabbages together, grate some Carrot, add a few raisins or cranberries and put dressing all over it. We probably eat Coleslaw at least three times a week.
Graham loves Sauerkraut and since we have a 3 gallon crock, we usually make a batch of Kraut every year.
For this recipe, I need 6 tablespoons of coarse pickling salt for every 10 pounds of cabbage. If you have a crock and don’t know how much it will hold, the general rule is 5 pounds of food for every 1 gallon of crock capacity, so my crock should hold 15 pounds of cabbage. So I measured out 9 tablespoons of the pickling salt.
Wash the Cabbage, taking off the looser outer leaves. Start with a nice tight head of Cabbage, then half the Cabbage and then quarter it and remove the core.
Slice it (or use your food processor to finely shred) very thin, weigh it and then put a layer in the crock.
I like to pat it down firmly with my hand to remove as much air as possible. On top of EACH layer, I sprinkle some of the pickling salt. Alternate Cabbage and the salt until your crock is almost full.
Once my layers started getting higher, I used the bottom of a coffee cup to firmly pack the Cabbage down. I want as little air in there as possible.
Once you’ve got your Cabbage and salt layered in the crock, tear some plastic wrap and place it on top, tightly tucking it down the sides if possible. I ended up tearing more plastic wrap and just jamming it around the edge of the crock.
Now take a plastic freezer bag 3/4 full of cold water and set that directly on top of the plastic wrap. The bag will find any open areas and sit on top of it, hopefully removing ALL air at the top.
Put the cover on your crock and leave it alone for a couple of weeks. Check it every few days – there should be no scum sitting on the top. If there is, take a spoon and carefully remove it. Make sure you put fresh plastic wrap on top. After it has stopped fermenting, it will be ready for canning (another post).
For fermenting, you want a temperature of 68 – 72F or 20 – 22C.
Try making some Sauerkraut for your family! If you don’t have a crock, you can use glass jars instead. Don’t use anything metal and never mix fresh cabbage in with cabbage already fermenting.
After it’s ready, you will probably want to read about how to water bath can Sauerkraut. It is easy to do and great to have some jars on your pantry shelf!
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