This culinary tradition is older than any one member of the family, but it binds us together - past, present, and future. The activity serves as a reminder of a simpler time and of the longevity of memory, inheritance, and oral history passed down from parent to child.
1Wash and scald crock. Remove outer leaves from cabbage, but do not wash heads. Shred cabbage directly into crock using a kraut shredder. Shreds should be long and as thick as a nickel. Sprinkle layer of salt over each 1-inch layer of cabbage. Pack each layer down using potato masher. When all cabbage and salt are in jar, cover with clean white cloth and place an inverted plate on cloth and top with as large a piece of limestone as possible. The weight of the stones holds the cabbage under brine that soon forms and the small amount of lime that is dissolved by the brine aids in lactic acid fermentation, giving sauerkraut its flavor.
2Allow to ferment 4-6 weeks in a cool (60°) location. Skim off any film formed during fermentation. Sauerkraut may be left in crock for several months if care is taken that brine always covers kraut and that film is removed each time crock is opened. Use clean cut cloth each time crock is covered. If space is lacking, sauerkraut may be drained, packed tightly into sterilized jars, and sealed.