You need to clean up very well when starting as you are trying to inoculate the cabbage over a long period of time, and you don’t want bacteria causing unwanted mould.
Also, you will need a very big bowl to move all the cabbage into, for the next mixing process.
Now that the surface is ready the knife shining and the cabbage readied… let’s go:
Step 1: Clean everything well, divide the cabbage
Step 2: Slice the cabbage, thin 1/2 inch strips
Step 3: Add salt, 2 tablespoons for every head of cabbage added
Step 4: With very clean hands… for roughly seven minutes squeeze and squish the cabbage, (don’t try to rip into smaller pieces). The salt will draw out the liquid from within the cabbage. It will also make a bubbling sound. This liquid is important and we want to keep it all together.
After some time, you can taste and see if it’s not too salty. Continue to press and squish the cabbage with your hands until it froths, and bubbles. It also kinda stanks like a fart.
Step 5: When it is fizzing and foaming, it is ready for the crock.
Step 6: Ready your super-clean fermentation crock.
Step 7: Empty everything into the fermentation crock.
Step 8: Press down the cabbage separating the juice and forcing it to the top
Step 9: Next using the single leaf you set aside, press it over the cabbage and under the juice and using the weight provided with the crock, place it on top to hold it down. This is for preventing ‘floaters’ as the process fizzes and bubbles.
Step 10: For a great seal wipe the rim of the crock before placing the lid on. It is a special lid, with air-locking ability. This must be tightly sealed for the process to work well.
Step 11: Label the lid with the date, so you don’t forget when this process started as time passes.
Step 12: Finally, seal and tighten the lid on the fermentation crock. Add a tiny bit of water to finalize the seal. This allows the gasses to escape while keeping air and bacteria from getting in.
Find a nice place for it to sit still, in even temperature and away from sunlight.
Let it sit for approximately two weeks.
Taste it. This should be bubbling, showing activation. And you can let it continue to sit for up to six weeks. What you DON’T WANT is for it to get slimy or mouldy.
The fermentation process does release gasses that smell a little like farts. This is normal, and a sign that it’s working but gives a good reason to have a storage space you don’t mind getting a bit smelly.
When it’s ready, move the sauerkraut into a suitable jar with a good lid, (canning mason,) and keep refrigerated. Enjoy!