Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
This recipe takes longer to type than it does to prepare! Be sure to keep the temperature constant and your implements clean.
- 50 lbs firm mature cabbage, quartered and cored,outer leaves discarded (about 10 gallons)
- 3 cups pickling salt, about
- Late cabbage is best for sauerkraut as it is higher in sugar.
- Take care to measure the salt accurately- use a knife to level the tablespoon.
- The cabbage will not ferment properly if you add too much or too little salt.
- With a shredder or sharp knife, shred 5 pounds of cabbage to the thickness of a dime.
- Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle 3 1/2 tablespoons of salt over the cabbage.
- Mix well with your hands.
- Wash a 10 gallon crock with soapy water, rinse, and scald it with boiling water.
- Drain thoroughly.
- Pack the salted cabbage, batch by batch, into the crock.
- Juices will form as you pack and press the cabbage down.
- Repeat the shredding and salting of the cabbage until the crock is filled to within no more than 5 inches from the top.
- Press firmly with a masher to extract enough juice to cover the cabbage.
- Cover with 2-3 layers of clean white cotton cloth, tucking edges down against side of jar.
- Place a heavy scalded plate (that fits snugly inside the crock) on top of the cloth.
- Fold the cloth over the plate.
- For a weight, fill clean glass jars with water; cap with the lids and screw bands, scald the jars before setting them on the plate.
- This weight should be enough so the juice comes over the plate.
- Use enough weight to bring the brine 2 inches above the plate- this makes daily skimming easier.
- Fermentation will begin the day following packing.
- Keep at a cool 70 F (Fermentation will take about 3 weeks.).
- Temperatures above 75F will result in premature fermentation and possible spoilage.
- Give the sauerkraut daily care.
- Remove the film as it forms-- wash, scald the cover as often as needed to remove mold and film.
- Fermentation is complete if bubbling has stopped and no bubbles rise when the crock is tapped gently.
- When the sauerkraut is ready to can, bring it to a boil in a large saucepan, then bottle in hot quart jars.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes to seal.
- You can also add caraway seeds, cranberries, apples and even some garlic to achieve the taste you like.
This stinks to high heaven while it is fermenting. So bad you almost want to throw it out. (Don't do that!!LOL) I made it in a 2 1/2 gallon crock and scaled it to 1/3 of the recipe because I was a little nervous about making it for the first time with 50 pounds of cabbage. I used jalapeno's in it. This is the best sauerkraut ever. I love the addition of the jalapenos. I de-seeded them so it wouldn't be too hot, but next time I will leave the seeds because it had no heat (it did have a lot of flavor though). It took my batch about six weeks instead of three to get to the point it was "done", but didn't require daily care after the first two weeks. I will be planting cabbage in my first garden in the coming season. This is too easy to ever have to settle for store bought again. After sharing with my sister and her family, none of it made it to the boiling water bath. We each have a large jar that probably won't last through the week. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I will try caraway seeds next.