Wendy Van Wagner is the owner of In the Kitchen cooking school, where she and Joe Meade teach.
Assemble your ingredients: a large bowl, sea salt, a pounder, and a sharp knife. If you want to add seasonings use caraway seeds or juniper berries. Use organic cabbage for two reasons: 1) it has more sugars than conventional cabbage, so the lacto fermentation gets going faster, and 2) conventional cabbage is often grown too quickly, and it can rot instead of fermenting.
Choose the small, medium or large size of our top-of-the line Harsch crocks.
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbages, and any bruised leaves, then cut out the cores.
Slice the cabbages thinly, using your knuckles as a guide—or use a traditional sauerkraut cutter, or a mandoline.
Add sea salt according to the recipe. Mix the salt and the cabbage, then bash the cabbage with the pounder, as you rotate the bowl. The bruised cabbage will begin to exude liquid.
Pack the cabbage into the clean crock and press until liquid rises about the cabbage. Then add the weighting stones and be sure the liquid covers the stones.
Place the lid on the crock and fill the rim with water to form an airtight seal. Place in a room where the temperature is 60F to 70F, monitor the water in the rim, and wait 3 to 4 weeks. If you like mild sauerkraut, eat it sooner, if you like it tangier, let it go longer.
Serve up your finished sauerkraut!
Would you like to make sauerkraut with NO salt, or low salt? For sauerkraut details and recipes, enjoy our specialty book, Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home. For more on sauerkraut and other fermented foods, try Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, and Preserving Food at Home.
Melody Hale Says:
Sep 10th, 2013 at 7:49 pm
I know this is an old post, but hopefully you will catch this question. Just made my first batch, and the liquid is rather milky and there is scum on it. Is this ruined? Can I skim/rinse/whatever and still eat the kraut? I tasted a tiny bit and it doesn’t really taste very tangy, just salty. Has been fermenting for 5 weeks.
Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 16th, 2013 at 11:28 am
Penn State has a helpful article about making sauerkraut and the food safety issues involved http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/penn_state/penn_state_sauerkraut.pdf
They say, “Kraut should be to desired tartness, with firm texture, have brine that is not cloudy, and be free of any sign of mold or yeast growth. Do not taste if you see mold on the surface, feel a slimy texture, or smell a bad odor.” See the article for more details, as well as this one from the National Center for Food Preservation http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/sauerkraut.html
If you are using our Bolesawiec or Harsch crock with the water seal, you will not develop a scum or yeast because what oxygen is left in the cabbage will be quickly eliminated and the water seal will prevent more from entering.