Packaged sauerkraut products can be bland and soft. But your own homemade sauerkraut using freshly grated cabbage is a crunchy sauerkraut that has more flavor.
Making homemade sauerkraut is a two to three week process because it involves the fermentation of fresh cabbage. So don't expect to start the process on a Saturday morning hoping to have sauerkraut to top your grilled hot dogs Saturday night. But your patience will be rewarded. And since cabbage is one of the most economical vegetables available at the supermarket, homemade sauerkraut is an affordable specialty to prepare. Follow this simple recipe for how to make sauerkraut.
Gather the ingredients:
- 5 pounds shredded cabbage
- 3 tablespoons non-iodized salt
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion, sliced.
- You will also need a large, deep pottery crock with a lid to fit or obtain a food grade plastic bucket from a restaurant supply store with lid.
Place half of your shredded cabbage and sliced onions into your container of choice, then sprinkle these with half of your salt and drop in three cloves of garlic. Finish up by adding the other half of the shredded cabbage, onions and garlic cloves in that order, ending up by sprinkling the last of the salt on top. Make sure your hands are clean, and squeeze the mixture, pushing it downwards until you notice liquid beginning to accumulate at the bottom of the container.
Place the lid (even a heavy plate will do) on top of the cabbage container and weight it down with a heavy rock or brick.
Now place this cabbage filled container in a cool place like a root cellar or dark cool corner of your garage. Try to avoid placing it in the refrigerator because the fermentation process will take much longer.
Check the container after two days and you should notice the formation of scum on top of the cabbage mixture. Simply scrape this off and discard it. Pack the mixture down hard again into the container, replace your plate/lid and weight or brick. Repeat this process of removing the scum and packing down the contents every two days.
After two weeks of fermentation, do your first taste test and see if your product is tasting like sauerkraut. If it doesn't have that familiar snap, check again after two days. Once the sauerkraut has fermented to your taste satisfaction, keep it refrigerated and consume within two weeks.
Homemade sauerkraut makes a delicious topping for mashed potatoes, hot dogs, or as a side dish to roast pork or grilled pork chops.