I have been making this kraut for about 26 years now. I make it in an 8 gallon, hand thrown, stone crock that is over 100 years old. My favorite one that was given to me about 25 years ago by an 82 year old (at that time) woman & it was her mother's.
This is an old recipe also. It came out of a canning cookbook from 1914.
When I do kraut this summer, I will post pictures of step by step process & finished results. For now, I will just post a picture of the sauerkraut salad I made with it. SAUERKRAUT SALAD
I'm rating this as hard, because, if you've never done it, it will seem hard. After you have done it a few times, it will become easier.
1I feel I have to add this in before you start: If it's that time of the month for you,(internet picture. She's weilding a knife), better wait until it isn't. There is a rule of thumb in canning & it's not just an old wives tale. Never do corn, tomatoes or kraut during your menstral cycle. Your product will likely ruin. It's something to do with the chemicals in your body at that time. I know this to be true.
Also, when you wash the tea towels you are using, wash in with regular white clothes but don't use any type of fabric softener in the wash. Dry the towels by themselves & don't use a dryer sheet either.
2* When I say to make sure it is kraut cabbage; there are certain types that hold up better for kraut. Like there are certain cucumbers for pickling & ones for slicing. We use Stonehead & s are trying Copenhagen Market this year also.
That is if you are growing it yourself. If you buy it from someone & can't get the kraut kind, just get what they have. May just be somewhat softer outcome but will taste the same.
3Wash, shred and weigh the cabbage exactly.If you have never done this before, here's how: After washing head of cabbage, cut in half. Cut out core & throw away, as it is bitter.
I usually never have to wash it. When you peel off the outer leaves, the inside is clean.
4Shred on kraut cutter or cut with large knife, really thin strips. Use one of the large bowls here.
I have read not to do this in a food processor as the centrifical force bruises the cabbage. I did it this way once though & never noticed anything, but would rather do it right.
5In a large bowl, using 5 pounds of shredded cabbage at a time, and adding about 2 tsp. of pure salt or 1 Tbsp. of table salt to each pound of raw, shredded cabbage, sprinkle salt over shredded cabbage.
6Mix with hands in squeezing motion until brine forms on cabbage. Do this each time you add 5 pounds of cabbage. I use a big bowl & put the cabbage & salt in it to squeeze & then dump it in the crock each time. Use only glass or stainless steel bowl.
7When you have the desired amount in crock, pack firmly so brine covers top. Do not ever add made up brine to this stage. If there's not enough brine on cabbage, keep squeezing.
8Now, place a cloth directly on cabbage & push down all the way around the crock, a couple of inches below kraut. I use a white tea towel.
9Put a plate on cloth.
10Place a heavy enough weight on plate to make the brine come up to it. I use the 3 jars full of water. Original recipe called for a wooden board & a large rock.
11Use your rubberband & twine now to make a tie for the rim of crock to hold another towel on top securely. You want it smaller than circumference of crock so it stretches the rubberband to hold it on.
12Place crock where temperature is about 70°. I set mine off to one side in the kitchen so it is near sink & is cool on the floor.
13Cabbage will begin to ferment within a day or 2 after packing and will continue for about 10 days to 2 weeks.
14A whitish scum will form on brine in 2 or 3 days. This scum is made of wild mold and yeast and will cause the kraut to get soft if not removed everyday.
15Lift off weights and cover and cloth. Most of scum
will come off with cloth. Use a spoon to remove any other. Wash and scald all utensils, including cloth & jars. With one hand, stir up the kraut in crock, bringing it up from the bottom too. Place clean towel, plate & weights back on kraut. Cover with towel & secure again.
Do this at same time every day. Even if you don't notice any white scum to speak of, do this every day. I use a fresh towel every day.
16In about 10 days to 2 weeks the kraut should be fermented. No white places on cabbage and no bubbling in jar. I also taste it. Shouldn't taste like fresh cabbage.
This is a picture of kraut on 10th day in crock. It is starting to look like kraut & the taste of kraut is starting to be there. I will give it at least one more day before canning. Must taste every day.
17When kraut has fermented it can be left in crock until ready to use, or canned immediately. To leave in crock, remove all covers.
Seal crock by pouring a layer of hot paraffin over surface of kraut. If seal breaks, kraut must be canned within a few days.I don't recommend doing it this way now a days. That was only for convenience, I'm sure, back in the day. And, whose going to eat that much kraut at one time?
18To can kraut, take out of crock, juice & all and heat to simmering, stirring frequently to keep from sticking.
19Pack into hot, sterilized jars. Cover with hot kraut juice or fresh brine if you don't have enough juice. Make the brine by adding 2 tablespoons of salt to 1 quart of water. Be sure brine covers kraut in jars or kraut will discolor. I usually don't have to make too much extra brine.
20Process pints 15 minutes or quarts 20 minutes in boiling water bath.
21I used 11 1/2 heads medium Stonehead cabbage & it made 30# fresh shredded. It made 33 pints of kraut.
The general rule of thumb is 1# shredded cabbage makes 1 pint of kraut.
I used 6 large heads of Copenhagen Market cabbage & it made up 41# fresh which made 50 pints of kraut. This cabbage seems to make more juice than Stonehaed. The kraut from both held up beautifully. Will have to see over time how it holds up.