Editor’s Note: These instructions are from the book Babs Ambrose wrote with the staff of Organic Gardening and Farming, entitled Stocking Up: How to Preserve the Foods You Grow, Naturally. It was first published in 1973.
- Start with 15 fresh organic cabbages at room temperature with the outer leaves or any damaged portions removed, cored and shredded (thinly is best). Thoroughly mix 3 to 4 tablespoons canning/pickling salt to each 10 quarts of shredded cabbage.
- Pack firmly into crock(s) to within 3 to 4 inches of the top. Cover with a cloth (muslin works great and is inexpensive) and tuck it down into the edges of the crock, forcing the brine to the cloth but not over it. This keeps the cabbage from being exposed directly to the air. Cover with a tight fitting lid over the cloth (use a plate with a weight if no lid for the crock).
- Ferment at room temperature (68 degrees to 72 degrees) for at least 14 days, depending on the temperature —longer if it’s cool. Some recipes call for 4 to 6 weeks for fermentation to be complete, so don’t be too impatient. Fermentation is done when bubbles stop forming and rising to the top.
- Change the cloth after skimming the scum that forms on the top daily. Replace the weighted lid and adjust the weight so the lid fits tightly.
- When fermentation is done, taste the kraut, and when it’s the way you like it, you can either store it in a very cool place or can it.
CANNING YOUR SAUERKRAUT / Heat the kraut to simmering. Pack into hot sterilized jars lightly, filling space with hot brine to within ½ inch of the top of the jar. Adjust the lids. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes for quart jars and 15 minutes for pint jars.