NOTE: You’ll need to have a large pot or mixing bowl, 2 wide-mouthed 32oz sterilized glass jars, and wooden spoon. If you have a food processor, then that makes it very quickly.
Yield: 2, 32-oz jars.
1 large head of green cabbage, sliced into thin strips (set large outer leaves aside)
1 Tbsp unrefined sea salt (I like Redmond Real Salt)
2 large carrots
2-4 cloves of garlic (2 if large, 4 if smaller)
Black pepper to taste – a few grinds will work
Place 1/3 of your sliced cabbage into your large bowl and sprinkle 1 Tsp of the salt over it. Using your hands and wooden spoon and squeeze and stir the cabbage until some of the water content begins to come out of it and the cabbage seems wet.
Repeat this process adding the remaining cabbage and salt 1/3 at a time to the bowl. Squeeze and stir the mixture until you can see water running off of the cabbage. This will take time and elbow-grease, so be ready to get your hands involved.
Peel and then grate the carrots on a box grater or in a food processor.
Peel and then finely slice the garlic.
Add the shredded carrots, garlic, and black pepper to the mixture and combine with your hands.
Fill the 2 jars evenly, pressing the mixture down so that water releases and raises above the line of the vegetables. Continue doing this until the jars are filled with about 2″ of space remaining at the top.
Wedge the large outer leaves of the cabbage you had set aside into the top of the jars so that the mixture is underneath it and the water level raises above the flat cabbage leaf. You will want to use a small pinch bowl or a shot glass as additional weight to keep the mixture down.
Set the filled jars aside on a cookie sheet or in any other large, flat container with an edge so that if there is any spillover you keep it contained. Set the jars/cookie sheet aside in a secure place at room temperature where they will not be disturbed.
Check on your raw sauerkraut every day or two to make sure that the water level has remained above the vegetables and that no vegetables are touching the surface and coming into contact with air. The fermentation process happens under water, so if you do see anything touching the surface, use a clean spoon to remove it. You may also see some growth or mold form around the top of the liquid- this is normal but it’s best to remove it when you see it. If you need to add liquid to the jars, add some fresh water to make sure that everything is below a water line. The weights should a lot help with this.
After about one week, remove the weight and top piece of cabbage from the kraut, remove a thin layer of the top of the kraut and give it a taste. It should be sour but probably not “there” yet. Allow the sauerkraut to sit for at least 2 weeks and taste it periodically as you wish to check on it.
Once the sauerkraut tastes as you like it, place the lid on it and store it in the refrigerator. It will last for several months while refrigerated and will not continue to ferment further.
Plain raw sauerkraut: use just cabbage and salt.
Traditional raw sauerkraut: use cabbage, salt and caraway seeds (about 1Tbsp for this recipe).
Sweet and tangy sauerkraut: use red cabbage, salt, raisins or currants, cinnamon and fennel seeds.
Seasonal fall sauerkraut: use cabbage, salt, green apples, sliced fennel and leeks.