Ingredients (for about 2 liters)
- 1 kilogram white cabbage
- About 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
- Widemouth jar or ceramic crock
- Plate that fits inside jar/crock
- Smaller jelly jar (filled with water) that fits inside the larger jar/crock or clean stones, marbles, or other weights for pressing ferment under brine
- Cloth cover (towel or kitchen cloth) for covering the jar
- Clean all equipment properly
- Chop the cabbage finely. I first cut the cabbage into quarters, cut the core out, and slice each quarter further into fine pieces.
- Place chopped cabbage in a big bowl and sprinkle salt over the cabbage. I massage cabbage with my hands to distribute the salt into all cabbage pieces. Thanks to the salt, water will be pulled out of the cabbage making a brine solution, after about 10 min the cabbage will become watery. Presence of salt keeps the cabbage crunchy but it’s also possible to make sauerkraut with less or no salt at all.
- Optionally, you can add other vegetables, herbs or spices to the mix if you like. I like plain cabbage the most but you can get creative by adding onions, garlic, beets, brussels sprouts, or dill seeds, and more.
- Pack the cabbage into the jar. Use handful portions of cabbage (including any already released liquid) at the time then tamp it down hard using your fist. Tightly tamped cabbage will release more water.
- Weight the cabbage down. Once all the cabbage is packed, place a small plate or other glass/ceramic lid inside the jar to cover kraut. On the top of it place a clean weight (smaller jar filled with water, clean rocks). It will keep kraut submerged under the brine and will force more water out of the cabbage. Note: I have also made sauerkraut without weighting it down with weight, just with a lid on a jar, and it worked fine.
- Cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth to keep dust and insects away.
- Press the weight down every few hours until the brine rises above the cover (after about first 24 hrs). It will add pressure and force more water out the cabbage. Add extra liquid with salt (about 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water) if the brine does not rise above the cabbage by the next day.
- Leave the cabbage to ferment for about 3 to 14 days but it’s up to your own preference on how fermented you like it. In general, the lower the storage temperature the slower fermentation. Also, smaller batches ferment quicker than larger batches.
- Taste the kraut every day or two. Each time you take some kraut out of the jar, make sure that the remaining kraut is packed tightly in the jar again, and the cover and weight are clean before weighting the kraut down. Add more salty water if necessary. When you are happy with the result just enjoy it. You can transfer it to a smaller jar and refrigerate your batch for 1-3 months!
- As the fermentation proceeds you may see some white layer, foam on the top, it’s often called “scum”. You can skim it off of the surface.
- I love eating sauerkraut with chopped red onion, some salt & peper and olive oil. It’s simple and delicious! Don’t forget that sauerkraut juice is a great digestive drink.