2015-02-17 Making sauerkraut - first attempt. Day 0 (Pic3)
12 lbs. of cabbage, 7.2 tbsp. salt.
It is amazing to see how quickly the salt draws the liquid out of the cabbage and how much the cabbage shrinks while this happens. You really don't need to add any water.
I am using a 3-gallon glass jar. ($12 @ Walmart)
The lid does not make an airtight seal. When fermentation starts producing gas, the internal pressure will lift up the lid to release the excess pressure; but the seal is tight enough to prevent contamination from entering the jar.
The clear layer on top is a plastic bag with salt water that I placed on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in the liquid. That helps prevent spoilage.
And now we wait, and wait, and wait. At least 6 weeks.
2015-03-09 sauerkraut fermenting, day 19 or so.
When I lift the lid, I can smell the fermentation is going well, even though there has not been much gassing that I noticed. It needs at least another week before I'll open it up.
2015-03-17 Sauerkraut - day 28. (Pic4)
I opened the jar and checked. Looks good, smells great, not a sign of mold.
I may have been a bit heavy-handed with the peppercorns, but not bad at all. Definitely acidic and rather different than what you buy in the store.
I added some brine. Without the water-bag on top there wasn't any liquid over the cabbage anymore. I think I'll let it go another week or two.
I'd say definitely something to do again.
2015-04-01 Done at last: Sauerkraut! 6 weeks (Pic1)
After waiting for six weeks, I opened the big jar and portioned it out into 5 quarts. Three will go to in the freezer, the other two in the refrigerator for near future consumption.
It looks good, smells good—Marielos disagrees on that one—and it tastes good even though I probably was a bit heavy-handed with the spices.
It has a definite acidic taste, but not anywhere close to the vinegar-soaked store-bought stuff. Compared to this, that stuff is pure vinegar.
This is the result of 6 weeks of hard labor! :-) I’m enjoying it while I'm writing this.
Next time, I won’t be adding any spices at all.
Pic2: green / white cabbage
Pic3: day 0 — 2015-02-17
Pic4: day 28 — 2015-03-17
Pic5: day 0 — 2015-12-07
Pic6: day 6 — 2015-12-13
Pic7: day 31 — 2016-01-07
A golden oldie.
Whether you make it yourself (see above) or buy it ready-made, sauerkraut is always a nice treat.
For some reason, the sausages I serve with sauerkraut are always pre-cooked commercial varieties, never the fresh ones like Italian. I use different kinds of sausages for extra variety.