1 whole cabbage
3 table spoons kosher salt
Spices of choice (I sometimes use turmeric)
- Put shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with measured salt and optional spices. Mix well, then knead and squeeze cabbage for a few minutes to begin to release its liquid.
- Covering cabbage between kneadings with plastic wrap, continue to squeeze and knead cabbage roughly every 15 minutes, until an some amount of brine has formed; it should be enough to cover the cabbage when the cabbage is compressed. If not enough brine forms, proceed to the next step (you will add more brine later as necessary). If using Mason jar, pack shredded cabbage into jar now, with all its accumulated brine.
- Lay reserved cabbage leaves on top of cabbage and press down until brine rises above cabbage. Add stone or glass weights and push down to compress even more. If there is not enough brine, top it up with a 2% salt solution. (You can make this by dissolving 1 cup of water and about 1 heaping teaspoon of kosher salt.)
- Seal Mason jar with airlock lid. Put in a cool, dark place(18 to 21°C) is ideal. After a day or two (or three), the fermentation process should kick off more actively and the cabbage should be bubbling away. If the vessel is quite full, it’s best to put a rimmed baking sheet under it to catch any overflowing fluids.
- After the first week, feel free to open vessel, push cabbage back down below brine level (it’s very important that the cabbage always remain below the liquid level), and taste cabbage to monitor its progress. If brine gets low, top it up with more 2% salt water. Keep in mind that the more often you open the vessel, the greater the chance of mold growing on the surface. If mold does grow on the surface, carefully scrape it off and continue to ferment the sauerkraut.
- The sauerkraut is ready when it is quite sour, which can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks, depending on your preference. Throw out the sauerkraut if it becomes discolored, slimy, or malodorous. (Some sulfurous smell is natural, but anything truly offensive is a bad sign.) Refrigerate in sealed containers for up to 6 months.