One of the many vegetables that we grew at the homestead this year was cabbage. We chose a variety from Baker Creek Seed Co. called the Glory of Enkhuizen. It's named after the village in Holland where it was first introduced back in 1899. It is said to be an early, excellent keeping variety that is a good producer and good for kraut. And it just so happens that things went very well for us this year and we ended up with quite a cabbage patch!
The natural solution to this abundance of cabbage growing in the raised beds out back was to try our hand at making sauerkraut, and it turns out that it's pretty easy to make. In fact, it's a lot easier to make sauerkraut than it is to spell sauerkraut!
A quick Internet search landed me quite a few different recipes to choose from, but a lot of them called for a traditional fermenting crock, which I don't have and I really didn't want to spend the money to get one. Instead, I decided to go with a slightly less traditional 5-gallon plastic bucket. We have a bunch of them around here as we use them to store our seeds and other things. They are BPA-free, food-grade buckets that we get at Lowe's.
So I had my crock. Next I needed to gather my ingredients. Turns out that homemade kraut only has two ingredients. Cabbage and pickling salt. I happened to have plenty of both on hand.
Here is the process step by step:
Cut up your cabbage and put it in your bucket.
Add 2 teaspoons salt for every pound of cabbage.
Smash it all up really good until the natural juices from the cabbage are extracted. I used a wooden baseball bat.
Put a plate over top of the cabbage and weigh it down with a jug of water until everything is submerged under the liquid.
Put on a loose fitting lid or a towel so everything is covered but the gases created by the fermentation process can still be released.
And then wait. About 4 to 6 weeks and then your sauerkraut is ready!
You can can it for long-term storage using the hot water bath technique.
And there you go! Simple and delicious sauerkraut from home, the way it's supposed to be.