27 Apr Green Cabbage Sauerkraut
1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial
bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment
as possible. Make sure your mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all
soap residue. You’ll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage,
so give those a good wash, too.
Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the
cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length,
making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and
sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging
and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first it might not seem like
enough salt, but gradually the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like
coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you’d like to flavor
your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, mix them in now.
Pack the cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into
the canning jar. If you have a canning funnel, this will make the job easier. Every
so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid
released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.
Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced
cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid.
Weigh the cabbage down: Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar,
slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean
stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down, and
eventually, submerged beneath its liquid.
Cover the jar: Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a
rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents
dust or insects from getting into the jar.
Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the
cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will
become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the
Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the
cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to
submerge the cabbage.
Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it’s fermenting, keep the sauerkraut
away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F.
Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.
Because this is a small batch of sauerkraut, it will ferment more quickly than
larger batches. Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to
you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. You can also allow the
sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There’s no hard and-fast rule for when the sauerkraut is “done” — go by how it tastes.
While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top,
or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The
scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before
refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your
cabbage is fully submerged; don’t eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the
rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
Store sauerkraut for several months: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it
will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated. As long as it
still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be. If you like, you can transfer the
sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.