Introduction: Sauerkraut

About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.
Hundreds (maybe even thousands) of years ago, people discovered that if they used salt, they could preserve food harvested in the fall for use during the winter.  One of the foods preserved that way is cabbage, and the result is a fermented product which we call sauerkraut.  I love sauerkraut. When I was growing up, I remember my Mom taking cabbage grown in our garden, putting in a crock and later bottling the resulting sauerkraut.  I love sauerkraut.  I didn’t realize that you can use a glass jar you didn’t have to have a crock.  I was so excited.  I don’t have to make a lot, I am the only one in my family who will eat it, and so here is enough to make me happy, in my funny shaped jar.  Sauerkraut!

Step 1:

A clean glass jar
A head (or more) of cabbage
A knife
Cutting board
Sea salt
Measuring spoons (not shown)
A big bowl (not shown)
Plastic bag with closure

Step 2:

Rinse off any dirt, but do not wash the cabbage.  It naturally has a bacteria that will cause the fermentation process, so don’t wash the bacteria away.   Remove a couple of the outer leaves and save for later.  Cut up the cabbage as finely as you can.  The more surface area exposed the better.

Step 3:

Place the finely sliced cabbage in a large bowl.  

Step 4:

Add about 1 Tbs. sea salt for each pound of cabbage (the cabbage weighed just under, 3 lbs. so I added 3Tbs. of salt). 

Step 5:

With your impeccably clean hands mix the cabbage and salt together.  Do this for about 3 minutes.   Liquid should be coming from the cabbage.

Step 6:

Carefully pack the cabbage into the clean jar.  Packing it tightly using your knuckles to push it down.  Pack it all in.

Step 7:

Place the saved outer leaves on top of the cabbage in the jar.

Step 8:

Place the empty plastic bag on top of the leaves with the opening outside the jar.  Add enough water to the bag so that the weight of the water will hold the sliced cabbage down below the level of the fluid that has seeped from the cabbage.  This is the salt water and bacteria that will ferment the cabbage.

Step 9:

Use the twist tie (or what ever) to close off the bag.

Step 10:

Cover the top of the jar, to prevent unwanted yeast or other bacteria from getting in.  Let is set of 7 days.  During the 7 days check the sauerkraut to make sure no unwelcome growth (usually dark in color) does form.  If you find any, remove it with a spoon and get rid of it.

Step 11:

Here we are 7 days later.  They color has changed a little, but the test is in the tasting.

Step 12:

Yum!  Put it in the fridge, to slow the fermenting process. I grew up with sauerkraut and sausage.  Yes, that will be lunch tomorrow.  Enjoy!
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