Sauerkraut I think is one of those things that you either love or hate…like so many things in life. We happen to love it but were beginning to be disappointed with the shelf stable jars and in no way were we interested in purchasing the live krauts that can be found in health food stores for a pretty penny. Cha-ching I think not!
I tried making sauerkraut in a large glass crock once before and all seemed to be going well until mold developed and it smelled like death and was infested by fruit flies. I almost got turned off of fermenting right then and there. I had chopped 20lbs of cabbage, packed it, added enough brine, I thought I had a good seal on that glass crock but alas, nope.
THEN I discovered that it is possible to make small batches of raw, LIVE sauerkraut and so that is how I have made it since the zombie sauerkraut fiasco and until I get a suitable fermentation crock
Recently one of the local supermarkets had cabbage for 14c a pound so I bought two heads and here is how you make small batch sauerkraut for the refrigerator OR if you have a cold storage pantry/cellar.
(You can also actually can the jars but this then kills the beneficial probiotics so I almost would prefer to store my whole cabbages in a cellar or underground pantry and then make a few jars fresh as needed).
- Gather these things: One (about 1lb) cabbage, canning salt, canning jars and lids, 1tbs, sharp knife, chopping block. That’s it. Wait, I lied, a canning funnel helps too.
- Thoroughly wash the outside of the cabbage to avoid transferring bad bacteria from grubby people touching it when you cut with the knife.
- Quarter, core, and slice to 1/4 inch thick to make ribbons of cabbage.
4. One head of cabbage filled two bowls. Sprinkle 1.5tbs of the canning salt between the cabbage and gently toss and massage to get the salt worked through the layers.
5. Let the cabbage sit at room temperature. The cabbage will begin to sink down in the bowl, it will look shiny from the moisture drawing out, and water will pool in the bottom. The salt is drawing water out and this is the sauerkraut brine. This takes maybe one hour.
6. Begin packing the cabbage into the jars once a good amount of water has leached out, about 1.5 hours. Use a spoon to pack those cabbage strands tightly into the jar. The brine will begin to rise to the surface of the cabbage block.
7. I ended up needing one quart, and one pint jar. You could use 3 pint jars. If there is not sufficient brine risen to the top to COVER the cabbage after packing the cabbage confetti in the jar, make up a brine of 4 cups water to 1.5 tbs salt to top it off a little. You can then use a fermentation weight on top of the cabbage to weigh it down OR use a reserved piece of core. You will throw this out before storing and eating your sauerkraut.
8. Put the lids on and let sit in a dark cupboard for about a week or two until the desired tang has been developed. You can burp the jars every other day or so to prevent the fermentation gasses from building up and exploding Eu De Cabbage everywhere.
When the sauerkraut is fermented to your liking, store in the fridge to slow the fermentation process and eat!
There you have it…3 pints of sauerkraut for about $0.15.
I had about 1lbs of cabbage, and 1.5 tbs canning salt. The jars I always have on hand for canning and don’t factor those costs. I consider my jars the same as having plates.
But you can reuse a store bought pickle jar.
P.S This is how our son who does not like the texture of fresh cabbage will actually gobble up cabbage!