Reply To: Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe?

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You are definitely on the right track. I’m guessing you’ve made it by now, but some things I find most important are:

Make sure you have water or liquid covering the vegetables so air does not cause rotting. I follow Body Ecology’s method and once I’ve shredded my veggies (usually a combo of 2 heads cabbage, 1 head red cabbage, 2 carrots, or whatever I have around that has the benefits I need, red peppers, celery, cuke, kale, daikon, garlic…) I put several big scoops in a blender with lemon juice, herbs, and filtered water to make a “brine” and add it back in the the shredded cabbages. I usually add a culture starter or micro-flora product too, but they aren’t necessary. If you don’t want to mess with the blender, so can also just knead and massage the shredded cabbage, which causes it to start breaking down, yielding juice.

Pack the cabbage in tightly, and use some extra cabbage leaves to cover the top, pushing down so the liquid comes up over the leaf-cap. I find that doing this keeps the veggies moist, even if they expand. Leave a good two inches of room at the top to allow for expanding gases, so you don’t have to open and repack them, letting all of that good fermentation gas out. You know you’ve done it well if the lids pop up and are hard and you get a carbonation fizz when opening.

Personally, I would leave out the salt unless you want the actual salty taste of sauerkraut, as salt prevents some of the enzymes from forming. I would think that a teaspoon per head of cabbage would not be a problem though. I add about that much when I make cultured salsa (cabbage, red peppers, cilantro, leeks/green onions, jalapeno, lime juice, salt)

If you get some browning/rotting at the top, you can scoop off the affected part and safely eat the cabbage below. If it is sour or tangy, it is just fine. If it has a rounder, “off” taste, it’s no good.

So using what you have, the easiest method would be:
Sterilize utensils, jars and lids.
Shred cabbage into large bowl and sprinkle salt over.
Mix in by hand, and massage until it yields juices in the bottom of the bowl.
Pack cabbage tightly into jars, pushing down as you go. Leave 2 inches of room at the top, and stuff a piece of cabbage leaf over the top, pressing down so that juice floods over it. Add more juice from bowl if cabbage is dry.
Seal jars tightly and leave at room temperature 7-10 days.
Refrigerate without opening until you are ready to eat them.

Let us know how they turn out!