I started a batch of sauerkraut fermenting this morning. This will be my second time making it. I find the subject of lactobacillus fermentation and probiotics fascinating. I’ve made my own yogurt countless times, in fact it was one of my assigned responsibilities when I was a kid in India. I’ve also had decent luck making pickles by fermentation. The last several years I’ve been fermenting my own hot pepper sauces which, in my opinion, rival the flavor of the popular brands.
Using both green and red cabbage, I cut the heads into quarters and then slices. I added sea salt at a ratio of 2% (by weight) and massaged it into the cabbage with my hands. I used two bowls to make the process easier and less messy.
I transferred both green and red cabbage into a ceramic crock and mashed it down, first by jabbing with a large plastic spoon then by pressing and pounding with the bottom of a bottle, until enough liquid was released to cover the cabbage.
It is important to keep the cabbage submerged under the liquid to maintain an anaerobic environment so that unfriendly bacteria don’t spoil the batch. I put a ceramic plate on top of the cabbage and set a jar filled with heavy objects on top of the plate to weigh it down.
I covered the crock with a kitchen towel and set the ceramic lid loosely on top. Some people recommend checking and tasting the kraut every couple of days. I prefer to wait about two weeks before checking, mostly because I am lazy. There is often a harmless white mold that forms on the surface of the liquid. It needs to be skimmed off before removing the plate and tasting the kraut. If it needs to ferment longer then the plate and weight must be re-sanitized and the cabbage pressed down again etc. I prefer to do all that only once when there is a better chance the sauerkraut will actually be ready.
There are beets out in the garden that need to be harvested. I hope to pickle them using this same process of lactobacillus fermentation.