It's easy to make a good sauerkraut, but you do have to be precise when you prepare it. Don't be discouraged by the length of the recipe; it will all make sense the first time you make it and will quickly become second nature. Once fermented, sauerkraut can keep for at least 6 months if stored in the fridge.
- 1 cabbage, about 3 lbs
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 tsp juniper berries or ½ tsp caraway (opt.)
Wash your hands and clean under your fingernails. Wash all bowls, containers and cooking implements thoroughly.
Discard outer layer of cabbage leaves. Quarter cabbage and remove tough heart from the center. Slice cabbage into very thin strips of 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch (according to your preference), using a very sharp knife or mandolin.
Place cabbage strips in a large bowl and sprinkle salt on top. Massage salt into the cabbage with your hands for 2-3 minutes. Cover the bowl and let stand 30 minutes. Massage again, then incorporate spices.
Place cabbage and its juicein a large-mouthed jar and push it down forcefully with your hands or a pestle in order to pack the sauerkraut in and remove air bubbles.
Put a plate (or make a disc from a piece of plastic) on top of the sauerkraut. Put a weight on top of the plate to ensure the sauerkraut is completely submerged (it has a tendency to float at the beginning of fermentation). Put the lid on top of the jar, but don't screw it on; this will allow the gas created during fermentation to escape. Otherwise, the jar may crack.
Put the jar in a large bowl or on a deep in case some brine overflows as it begins to ferment.
Ferment, protected from direct sunlight, for 2 days if it is warm, or 3-4 days if it is cold. Remove the weight. Wipe the jar clean, rinse and screw the lid shut. Sauerkraut is now ready to be eaten or stored for several weeks (although it will lose its crunch over time).