Did you know that making sour kraut during world war II was considered patriotic in the United States? Because a great deal of our food was going to feed the war machine, preserving cheaply/easily home grown cabbage with salt was just one little extra boost. And because you don't need a heat source, you can do all of this in your dorm room!
"I Can, because I Can"
In this recipe I'm using primarily red cabbage and am adding 1 carrot, finely diced.
Step 1: Holy Salt Batman!
Here's what you need
A food safe Bucket
Something weighty/easily cleaned (2L bottles work great when filled with water).
For every 5 pounds of cabbage - you'll need about 2.5-3 Tablespoons of salt.
Your plate should fit snugly inside your bucket
Step 2: Chop
Finely Chop your cabbage
Step 3: Bucket Time
Sterilize your bucket by washing with hot water and bleach - be sure to rinse away any residue bleach. Wash your hands/arms.
Start by sprinkling some salt in the bottom of the bucket.
Next add a layer of cabbage.
Sprinkle more salt
Repeat until you've all all of your cabbage.
Mix cabbage and salt together well.
Step 4: Pack Cabbage
Start pushing your cabbage down to the bottom of your bucket. Packing tightly. Some punching works well too. The idea to to pack the cabbage as tightly and as even as possible so that the water level stays above the level of the cabbage.
Place your cleaned plate on top off your cabbage - then place your cleaned water bottles on top of the plate. I'm using a pot full of bricks as my weight as there's no 2L soda bottles to be had for me (I'm back to my limited soda drinking ways).
Finally, over the top of the bucket with a towel (to prevent bugs/dust) and wrap a bit of cord around the outside lip (to keep bugs from crawling under).
Step 5: Maintenence
Every day, remove your weights and plate and clean them with hot soapy water.
Should you see a scum build up on the surface of your kraut - fear not. Simply skim away as much as possible. This is simple an interaction between the organisms fermenting your cabbage and air.
If after the first day the water level does not rise above the cabbage - add a saltwater brine to help it out. About a half a tablespoon per two cups of water is more than enough.
After about 4 days or so, depending on temperature, you can begin to eat your kraut. Scoop some into a jar and keep in the refrigerator while the rest of the kraut continues to age. Just be sure to repack to ensure everything is below the water line.
Step 6: Enjoy
Sour Kraut is a very health food. As it hasn't been cooked, it still contains all the nutrients it started off with. Sour Kraut is actually considered a raw vegetable and is great for your digestive system. The juice is drinkable (and quite tasty).