Sauerkraut is a popular German fermented food that is used throughout Eastern European dishes. Some believe that sauerkraut originated in China nearly 2,000 years ago. But, it didn’t get its name until the Germans dubbed it sauerkraut which literally translates to ‘sour cabbage’ many years later.
Whatever you call it, this fermented cabbage dish is a tasty treat that is great for everything from topping hot dogs at your next barbeque to Reuben sandwiches or your next meat and potato dish.
Slice your cabbage into thin ribbons
Place the sliced cabbage into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt on top. Using clean hands, massage the salt into the cabbage (by squeezing the cabbage).
After 5 to 10 minutes the cabbage will become watery and limp. For any additional flavorings (caraway seeds), add them in now.
Pack your cabbage into a glass jar. And every few handfuls, tamp the cabbage down into the jar with your fist. Also, pour any liquid into the mixing bowl into the jar.
Weigh your cabbage down so it is submerged in the liquid. This can be done using a smaller glass jar or clean marbles.
Cover the jar with a cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
Tamp the cabbage down every few hours. Press down on your jar as the cabbage will start to release more liquid.
If needed, add extra liquid so that your cabbage is fully submerged if the liquid has not risen after 24 hours. Do this by mixing one cup of water with 1 tsp. of salt and slowly adding to your jar until your cabbage is submerged.
Ferment your cabbage! Keep your glass jar away from direct sunlight and in a cool place. Between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit for 4-10 days. After the 4th day, you can taste it. It’s ready when it’s slightly sour and tastes good to you.
Then screw on your cap and refrigerate for up to several months!
During the fermentation process, you may see some scum on the top. Scoop this off before refrigerating.