This is the small-batch, make-at-home version that ferments in a few days and can be eaten quickly. If you are seriously into fermentation – or would like to be – turn to Sandor Ellix Katz’s brilliant Wild Fermentation. He is the authority on all things fermentation. I use a large, 2 quart, wide-mouth glass jar. It does just fine. Our go-to cabbage is traditional green, but red or napa work and optional additions can be used such as a shredded carrots or one teaspoon of ginger, garlic, fresh dill and caraway or fennel seeds. Please note that it is important that the water completely covers the cabbage as the fermentation of the cabbage should be without air – the anaerobic kind. Otherwise mold will develop when the cabbage comes into contact with air. If the sauerkraut discolors on the top or foam develops, remove that part as the fermented cabbage under water will be fine.
1 – 2 green cabbages
2 – 3 tsp sea salt
Finely slice the cabbage(s) and shred carrots, if using.
Mix the cabbage (and carrots) with the salt (and any optional additions) in a large bowl and massage using your hands. The salt will extract water from the cabbage – a physical process called osmosis.
Carefully transfer the cabbage to a wide-mouth glass jar and pack the cabbage with your fist so that the shreds will be submerged in the water.
Fill a smaller glass jar that fits into the larger one with water and place it on the cabbage. I have a food-grade plastic disk to transfer the weight of the smaller jar across the surface of the cabbage. Add salty water if the cabbage didn’t release enough to cover it completely.
Cover the jar with a towel and leave at room temperature for at least four days. You can start tasting it and leave it up to two weeks.
Once the sauerkraut has fermented to your liking, remove the smaller jar, close with a lid and refrigerate. It will last up to six months as long as it is submerged in water, but usually, we finish it after two or three days.