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Prep 40 mins
Cook 0 mins
This recipe is based on one from Mother Earth News, Wiser Living Series, Fall 2011. Sauerkraut provides up to 25% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Also, as a live-culture food, it contains lactobacilli, beneficial bacteria that promote digestive health. Unlike the canned variety, freshly made sauerkraut retains its beneficial bacteria, often killed in the preserving process. Regarding the “scum”, as the cabbage releases water and it combines with the salt, a rich vegetable brine forms; bacteria create lactic acid, which acts as a preservative, and adds flavor to the cabbage. Meanwhile, an unattractive scum will float to the top of the crock (from a crock pot) or bucket. This is normal; just be sure to remove it regularly so it doesn’t slow down the fermentation of the cabbage. More information from the article: “Cabbage ferments best at a comfortable room temperature – 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature the sauerkraut will be ready to eat in about a week. It will take longer to ferment at lower temperatures, but many people claim that it has better, more subtle flavors when it ferments slowly – one reason it’s traditionally made during cooler fall temperature. A food processor or cabbage slicer (an inexpensive large grater) makes shredding the cabbage easy. Since the fermentation process is “stinky”, placing the fermenting cabbage in a basement or other cool, distant location is advised. As you check on it to remove the scum, be sure to open a window! :) To prevent spoilage, store sauerkraut in a cool place such as a refrigerator or root cellar, if you don’t plan to eat it for a few weeks. Rotten kraut loses its flavor and texture. Make a smaller batch if you don’t have a suitable place to store it. Cook time doesn't include fermentation time.
- In food grade plastic bucket or large crock (like the ceramic insert to your crock pot), grate 1 of the cabbages. Add chopped Brussels sprouts and thoroughly mix.
- Sprinkle 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons salt evenly over the cabbage.
- Toss in the onions. Add the crushed garlic.
- Grate second cabbage and add it to the crock with the rest of the salt.
- Using your hands, crush the mixture until liquid comes out of the cabbage freely.
- Place a clean plate on top of the kraut, then a clean weight such as clean rocks or a bag of water on top of the plate. Cover with a towel and lid; check it after 2 days.
- Clean off the scum, repack and check every three days.
- In about a week the kraut should be ready. Don’t worry if the garlic turns blue – it happens!