We love sauerkraut. We just do. You either love it or hate it. We’d talked about making sauerkraut forever. We’d see something on tv and we’d say to each other, “We should make some sauerkraut!” And then I’d note how we didn’t happen to have the large crock that you needed to make it and we’d forget again for a while. Well, a month or two ago, my mom told me that she’d made sauerkraut in a Mason jar. What?! No way! (Again, my mom should really have her own blog as she gives me so many awesome ideas.) We just had to try it. It’s a very simple food to ferment and many beginners, like us, try sauerkraut as their first fermented food.
1 head of green cabbage
1 Tbs salt
2 wide-mouth quart jars
2 jelly jars
-Take off the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it into quarters and cut out the core. Next, slice the cabbage into thin strips or shred it. (I don’t feel like I cut it as small as I prefer this time, next time I might try the wet chop method in my Vita-mix to get smaller bits.) -Put the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. -Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage for about 5-10 minutes. You’ll notice the cabbage feeling much more wet as the salt begins to draw water from the cabbage.
-Pack the salted cabbage into 2 clean quart jars. Make sure to keep tamping it down with your fist as you pack it in. Pour any liquid that might have “juiced” from the cabbage into the jars too. -Weigh down the cabbage with jelly jars. I’ve seen where you can use empty jelly jars and then fill them with rocks or marbles to give it weight. Well, I actually didn’t have any empty jelly jars on hand since I’d recently made plum jam so I went ahead and used 2 jars full of plum jam. Then I didn’t have to search for rocks or marbles to weight it down! -Use cheese cloth or muslin to cover the tops of the jars and rubber band around the neck to secure it. This allows for the fermenting gas to escape without allowing dust or bugs to climb in. -Press on the jelly jars to continue to weigh down the cabbage several times over the next day. This helps to draw more of the water to the top to cover the cabbage. If, after the first day, there isn’t enough liquid to cover the cabbage, you can mix up a little water with salt (1 c. water/1 tsp. salt) and pour it into the jars to cover the cabbage.
-Ferment the cabbage: Store the jars in a cool place away from direct sunlight for 3-10 days. The amount of time really depends on your preference. You can begin tasting the sauerkraut at 3 days. Keep tasting it until it tastes right to you. The longer you ferment it, the stronger the sauerkraut taste you’ll get. -Once it’s done, store the sauerkraut in the fridge. It should keep for months of great eating! **NOTE**I fermented this batch for about 9-10 days. It tastes pretty good but I wish that I’d let it sit for a few more days. I’d like a stronger sauerkraut flavor and I feel like there’s still a slight “green cabbage” taste to it. My husband, who loves any kind of cabbage – raw, cooked, or fermented, says it’s great. To each his own – just keep testing it until it’s “right” for you!