Ever bought a cabbage, used about a quarter of it since you only cook for one person at a time, and then wonder what to do with the rest? Or have you ever had a craving to eat sour cabbage after a week? Then you’re in luck, sauerkraut is the perfect remedy for these two specific occasions. This is the easiest fermentation possible, the bacteria are already present on the skin of the cabbage and all you have to do is leave it in heavily salted water to wash the taste of poverty from your mouth. You will need jars to make this. For 1 pint mason jars, you only need to ferment it for 7 days, but for larger batches you need to leave it for about 2 weeks. Make sure the cabbage is finely chopped, and it would be best to discard the center hard part. Use colored cabbages for an exciting look.
1 cabbage, 3-4 pounds, finely chopped
2-4 tbsp salt
Water to fill
Rinse and finely chop the cabbage. Stuff them into airtight jars and add salt. Fill the jars with water and shake to dissolve the salt. One tbsp of salt is good for one pint of sauerkraut but I still make a few different concentrations and experiment. Date the jars for convenience.
The cabbage has to ferment in a cool environment (10-15 degrees Celsius) and all the cabbage has to be submerged under the brine, if some cabbage is floating to the top then use something to weigh it down or add more water. Open the jar after 1 day and press the cabbage down further, the cabbage should be much softer now and air bubbles will be easier to remove.
After a week, open the jars and taste to see if they are good to eat. If you think they taste rotten then they probably are and you should throw it away. The reason for that can be residual bacteria on the jars or not enough salt. Sauerkraut is a wonderful tangy addition to a sandwich like a Ruben, or as a side for some Bratwurst. Pair this with some good German beer.