5 lbs. Green Cabbage, chopped
3 T. Pickling Salt (no iodine)
Optional: 1 T. Juniper Berries
2 t. Caraway Seed
(Note: Do not use caraway seeds as flour for baking - too much fiber)
The software begins with five pounds of green cabbage. To that, we’re going to add 3 tablespoons of pickling salt. 1 tablespoon of juniper berries, available in the spice section of your local mega-mart. The same as 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds. Toss together using my favorite kitchen tools, these [indicates his own hands] But make sure they are very clean, as in 20 seconds of washing with warm soapy water because any strange bacteria could get in here and definitely throw off the flavor of the kraut. Here we go.
Once it’s good and mixed, let it sit for 10 minutes. Because in 10 minutes the cabbage will be nice and wilted and ready for containment. Now when it comes to kraut containment we always have choices. For instance, mason jars have always been popular.
But since we want to gain access to the surface of the kraut, not so convincing. Then we have a pickle crock ...... but who ever has a pickle crock? Nobody. So I go with plastic containers, and my favorite is this loaf bread container.
I like it because it’s kind of got this trombone thing inside meant to pull the bread out, and it’s also a very effective plunger. Which is very nice. So, we load [the wilted cabbage into the container.] And get all the juice. Now the plunger. Now over time the cabbage is going to give up more and more moisture and the moisture will start to rise over the plunger, but we still could use a weight on top of this thing. Excuse me.
Oh. A mason jar full of water. A very clean mason jar should do the trick. Now all we need is a nice cool place to stash this. I don’t know, between 65 - 70 degrees.
10 Days Later
After a day the cabbage will have given up enough liquid to be completely submerged. Nice. Now, check on this every other day for 2 weeks. If you see any scum form on the surface of the brine or on the jar, just wipe it or skim it off, wash the jar, and put it back.
Now at about 4 weeks you’re going to have kraut. Now during this time two different naturally occurring bacteria are going to do tag-team work on the cabbage. One will produce CO2, paving the way for the second bacteria that will produce the acid, therefore putting the “sour” in the kraut. Now both of these bacteria can tolerate certain saline levels, but the kind of bugs that would throw this process off, can’t. So in this case the salt is acting as a biological bodyguard, rather than a bouncer.
Sauerkraut can be made in several different ways. The traditional recipe involves shredding and pounding fresh cabbage, adding salt, and submerging it under water for several days. The natural bacteria in the cabbage, such as lactobacillus plantarum, will natural begin to ferment the cabbage while the salt inhibits other microbes. You can eliminate the use of salt altogether by innoculating the shredded cabbage and water solution with yogurt starter or Kefir grains. A superior recipe can be found on Aquaman’s Website. A traditional recipe follows:
1 Fresh Medium Cabbage (red or green)
2 Tablespoons Pickling Salt (Please no iodine, it will kill the bacteria)
Distilled Water (or filtered and non-chlorinated)
Shred the cabbage. In a large bowl, mix shredded cabbage and salt together. Pound the cabbage mixture to expel the juices. Place pounded cabbage and juices in a medium sized glass jar (1 Quart Sized). Press down firmly on the cabbage. Add distilled water until cabbage is fully submerged. Solution should be at least one inch from the top of the jar. Cover the jar and let sit for 3 to 7 days at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator. Alternatively, one can use Kefir grains to ferment the cabbage, just eliminate the use of salt.