- 50lb Fresh Cabbage
- 3C Coarse Salt
- My butt
- To make about 10 gallons (40 liters)
- 50 lb. firm, mature cabbages, quartered and cored, outer leaves discarded (about 10 gallons (40 liters) about 3 cups coarse 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 tablespoons (45ml) of salt over the cabbage. Mix well with your hands or a stainless-steel spoon.
- Wash a 10 gallon (40 liter) 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 if filled to within no more than 5 inches (13 cm) of the top. Make sure the juice covers the cabbage. If not, make additional brine by mixing 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) of salt with 4 cups (1 liter) of boiling water.
- Cool to room temperature before adding to the crock.
- Now the cabbage needs to be covered and weighted down to keep it submerged in the brine. Fit one large plastic bag inside another to make a double bag.
- Fill with brine solution - 1 1/2 tablespoons salt to 4 cups water—and lay over the cabbage. The bag should fit snugly against the inside of the crock to seal the surface from exposure to air; this will prevent the growth of a yeast film or mold.
- The amount of brine in the bag can be adjusted to keep the cabbage submerged. Twist and tie to seal the bag. Cover the crock with plastic wrap, then with a heavy terry towel.
- Tie twine around the crock to hold the plastic wrap and towel in place. Do not open until fermentation time is completed.
- Fermentation will begin the day following packing. How long it takes depends on the room temperature. For best quality sauerkraut, a room temperature of 75 F. (23C) is ideal; fermentation will take about 3 weeks.
- At 70F (20C), allow about 4 weeks; at 65F (18C), about 5 weeks; and 60F (15C), about 6 weeks.
- Temperatures above 75F will result in premature fermentation and possible spoilage.
- Keep track of the temperature so that you know when to check the sauerkraut.
- Remove the cover. Fermentation is complete if bubbling has stopped and no bubbles rise when the crock is tapped gently.
- The old-fashioned way. Instead of weighting the cabbage with the brine-filled plastic bag, you can give the sauerkraut daily care as follows:
- Cover the cabbage with a clean white cloth. Cover the cloth with a scalded heavy plate that fits snugly inside the crock.
- 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.
- Use enough weight to bring the brine 2 inches (5 cm) above the plate - this makes daily skimming easier.
- Make additional brine if necessary. Cover the crock with a clean heavy terry towel, and top with plastic wrap to help prevent evaporation. Tie with twine.
- Each day, uncover the crock and remove yeast film or mold with a scalded stainless-steel spoon.
- Have a second jar weight ready and scalded to replace the one you remove. Replace the cloth and plate with clean ones.
- Cover the crock again with a clean terry towel. The sauerkraut may be stored in the refrigerator after fermentation is completed.
- For longer keeping, it can be brought to a boil in a large saucepan, then canned in quart jars and processed in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
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