How Lynn makes sauerkraut:
Head of cabbage (red or green is fine)
1-2 Teaspoons salt per pound of cabbage
2-3 Teaspoons Fennel Seeds (Optional and to taste, it doesn’t take much)
Crock/glass jar of some sort big enough to hold the sliced cabbage. I use a glass apothecary type jar or a big glass pickle jar
Cloth to cover crock
Weights for holding down – I use a small glass bowl that fits inside my glass jar and fill with clean rocks that I have just for this purpose. They also sell weights.
1. Pull off outer layers of cabbage
2. Pull off a few more leaves to use to cover cabbage in crock. Wash and put in a baggie or bowl and place in fridge until later.
3. Cut cabbage into thin strips, about ¼”.
4. Place cut cabbage in large bowl.
5. Add salt to bowl. Adjust based on how much cabbage you have.
6. Mix the salt into the cabbage with the hands, gently massaging to help break down fiber some.
7. Cover bowl and let it sit for 24 hours.
8. Mix in fennel (optional).
9. Put cabbage in crock and add all the water from the bowl.
10. Cover cabbage with more water until it is completely submerged.
11. Place the saved cabbage leaves on top of the cabbage to help keep it covered and submerged.
12. Place weights on top of the cabbage leaves. Make sure water is above this level.
13. Cover with cloth and using string or a rubber band, secure. This is to keep bugs out of it.
14. Place in a warm place, but not in direct sunlight. Someplace like the top of your refrigerator.
15. Check daily to make sure the cabbage is still completely submerged. If it is exposed to the air, it can mold quickly. If by chance it does start to mold or there is a scum forming (normal), remove and let it continue to ferment. You should begin to see gas bubbles forming.
16. After about 7 days, start tasting a piece. Depending on how warm your spot is and your personal taste, it can take 3-6 weeks for it to ferment. There have been times I let it go a lot longer because I didn’t have time to deal with it. As long as there is no major mold growth and it’s been covered to keep the bugs out, it is fine.
17. Once it is to your liking, you can either store it in your refrigerator in smaller jars (it will keep for about 6 months, or possibly longer), or you may can it using a water bath canning process. I’ve done both. It just depends on how much I have and if I feel I won’t use it quick enough.
18. Water bath canning – If you are not confident with this, message me. It is a super easy way to can tomatoes, tomato salsa, fruit jams and jellies and of course, sauerkraut.
a. Bring sauerkraut to a simmer, do not boil.
b. Sterilize jars and lids.
c. Pack sauerkraut and liquid into hot jars, leaving ½” headspace.
d. Remove any air bubbles.
e. Wipe the edges with a clean cloth.
f. Add cap and ring and finger tighten.
g. Process pints for 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes, in boiling water canner.
h. Turn off the canner and let sit for five minutes, then slowly, and gently pull each jar out and set on a towel on the counter.
i. Let cool to room temperature.
j. Check to make sure the lid has secured. You should hear a popping noise as they are cooling. I usually take the rings off and gently pull at the lids on each jar. I also store without the rings. This allows a quick check to see if the seal gets broken while being stored.
k. If a lid did not seal, place that jar in the refrigerator and use it first. I eat it cold, straight from the jar. Especially if my gut is feeling rough. 2-3 great big bites every morning does a body good.
l. Store in a cool, dry, space, out of direct sunlight. Canned sauerkraut can last a year. It will be good longer, but flavor can degrade after that. Be sure to watch for broken seals and mold growth (which means the seal is broken). Dispose of those immediately.