- Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Quarter cabbage heads lengthwise; remove cores. Using a mandoline, food processor, or large chef's knife, finely shred cabbage. Measure 2 1/2 pounds shredded cabbage.
- Place the 2 1/2 pounds shredded cabbage in a large ceramic crock, glass container, or plastic food container that holds at least 1 gallon. Add pickling salt and sugar. Using very clean hands or tongs, toss the cabbage with the pickling salt and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes. Using a clean, heavy plate that fits just inside the container, press plate down on cabbage. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 24 hours, tossing cabbage and pressing plate down on cabbage every hour or until enough liquid is released to cover cabbage by at least 1 inch. (If the cabbage does not release enough liquid, add enough water to cover in a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 teaspoon pickling salt.)
- Place a large resealable plastic bag filled with 1 quart water plus 4 teaspoons salt (or a clean 1-gallon jug full of water) over the plate to weight it down. Cover container with a clean dishcloth or loose-fitting lid. Place the container in a cool place out of direct sunlight to ferment. At temperatures between 70 degrees F and 75 degrees F, fermentation will take 3 to 4 weeks; at 60 degrees F to 65 degrees F, fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks. The sauerkraut is ready when it has a slightly crunchy texture and pleasantly tangy flavor.
- Every 2 or 3 days, replace the dishcloth with a clean dishcloth, skim off any scum that forms on the surface of the cabbage, and clean and replace the plate. If any discolored cabbage appears at the top, remove and discard it. If the water level gets too low add enough water to cover in a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 teaspoon salt.
- Transfer the undrained sauerkraut to canning jars or airtight containers; seal and label. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Makes about 8 cups.
From the Test Kitchen
Prepare as directed, except add 1 large or 2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and shredded or finely chopped, and 1 tablespoon caraway seeds to the cabbage with the salt in Step 2.
Nutrition Facts (Homemade Sauerkraut)
- Per serving:
- 10 kcal ,
- 0 g fat
- (0 g sat. fat ,
- 0 g polyunsaturated fat ,
- 0 g monounsaturated fat ),
- 0 mg chol. ,
- 338 mg sodium ,
- 2 g carb. ,
- 1 g fiber ,
- 2 g sugar ,
- 0 g pro.