People get intimidated when I tell them I make my own sauerkraut and fermented vegetables, but it's really not that difficult. I've taught several of my friends how to make their own and once you get the hang of it I think you will be hooked! Making your own sauerkraut and
fermented vegetables is not only easy but it's sooo much less expensive than buying it at the grocery store, and fresher too! Here is the most basic sauerkraut recipe to start with, and then I add herbs and seasonings according to how I feel. Add your own seasonings such as garlic, dill, turmeric etc., you can't make a mistake. Just know that the longer you let your jars ferment, the stronger the seasoning will be, so use a lighter touch in the beginning. Good luck and post a comment to let me know how it goes!
Wash and clean cabbage and remove 2-3 of the outer leaves (to be used later). Shred cabbage by using either a shredder blade and food processor or by hand using a sharp knife.
Place the shredded cabbage into a large glass or ceramic bowl and add the salt (do not use a metal bowl as it will react with the salt). Using your just cleaned, freshly washed hands, gently mix the cabbage and salt together, squeezing handfuls of cabbage while mixing, to create its own liquid and brine. Continue doing this for approximately 5-10 minutes. Afterwards cover the bowl with a freshly cleaned kitchen towel and set aside for approximately 1-2 hours.
Next, using a wooden spoon, place a small amount of the cabbage mixture into the mason jar. Press down firmly with the wooden spoon to ensure no air pockets. Continue this procedure, adding a little bit of the mixture at a time and pressing, until the mason jar is almost full (leaving approximately 2 inches remaining from the top).
Once the mason jar is filled, tightly roll the outer leaves that you had set aside and place these on top of the cabbage mixture in your mason jar. Push these leaves down tightly to ensure no air pockets and make sure they are submerged under the liquid brine. If they are not submerged, then add more water. Should you still have problems with keeping the mixture under water, fill a small clean baby or jam jar with rocks or marbles and place it on top of the rolled up cabbage leaves. This will help to keep everything submerged.
(it is important to keep the cabbage mixture underneath the water to prevent mold from growing while it’s fermenting. Should you see a white scum appear on the surface, do not fret, this is natural kahn yeast and can be part of the process. Just use your wooden spoon to scoop away before placing in the refrigerator)
Once the cabbage mixture is sufficiently submerged, cover with a plastic mason jar top, metal top, OR a clean kitchen towel.
Let the fermentation begin! Set your mixture aside, either on the kitchen counter or in a clutter free room temperature area. Allow to sit anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks depending on your taste. As your sauerkraut ferments it will continue to get more tangy. After 3 days, take a taste to see if it suits you. If not, continue to ferment (you can taste everyday and it will not harm the sauerkraut).
Once the sauerkraut is to your liking, tightly seal the mason jar and place in the refrigerator. Sauerkraut will last approximately 6-8 weeks opened, and approximately 12 months when unopened. Enjoy!
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