- 1 medium head cabbage (about 3 pounds)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2-quart wide-mouth jar
- Smaller jelly jar that fits inside the larger mason jar (or small Ziploc bag)
- Clean stones, marbles, or other weights for weighing the jelly jar (or bag)
- Cloth for covering the jar
- Rubber band or twine for securing the cloth
Adapted from a recipe on TheKitchn.com
- Clean everything: Wash your jars and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Wash your hands too as you’ll be massaging salt into the cabbage.
- Slice the cabbage: Discard outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, to make 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons or use a mandoline.
- Combine cabbage and salt: Transfer sliced cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle salt on top. Work the salt in by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. The cabbage will gradually become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes.
- Pack cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the jar. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage with your fist. Pour any liquid from the bowl into the jar.
- Weigh the cabbage down: Once all the cabbage is packed into the jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean stones or marbles. Alternately, place the small Ziploc bag containing stones or marbles on top of the cabbage in the jar. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down and submerged beneath its liquid.
- Cover the jar: Cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents dust or insects from getting into the jar.
- Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
- Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
- Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: Keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid. Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are signs of healthy fermentation. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged. Don’t eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
- Store in the refrigerator: Sauerkraut will keep for at least two months and often longer in the refrigerator. As long as it tastes and smells good to eat, it will be.