Sauerkraut

5 lbs. cabbage (half green, half red)
3 tbsp. sea salt

Note: You will need a ceramic fermentation crock for this. Or you can use another vessel with at least a 1-gallon capacity, a plate that fits inside of the vessel, and a jar of water to set on top of plate to weigh it down.

Step 1) Chop the cabbage finely, place in large bowl and use your hands to knead with sea salt. Let stand for 1-2 hrs. and then knead again.

Step 2) Pack into fermentation crock or vessel and tamp down with your hand. Then place the crock stones or plate and jar of water on the kraut to weigh it down. Basically, you want the kraut submerged in its own liquid or brine (the stones or plate and jar weigh it down pushing it under its brine). The volume of your kraut will go down slightly as it ferments, and that is fine.

Step 3) Check on it every few days to make sure it is submerged. Water content of cabbage varies and if it is dry, you might not get the water level above the stones or plate on day 1. Continue to tamp it down and if it is not submerged by day 2 (fully submerging the kraut) then add a bit of pure water with sea salt at 1 tsp. per cup. You may see mold blooms on the air-brine interface, you can skim them off, but they are normal. The kraut when submerged is protected by its brine.  It will begin to get tangy at about day 3, for the recognizable kraut flavor enjoyed by many, it usually takes about two weeks.

Step 4) Once ready, you can pack it in jars and put them in refrigerator or cool basement. It keeps for weeks to months depending on the temperature. When it is past its prime it gets soft and tastes less pleasant.  

Suggestion: I enjoy kraut over its lifecycle. Both the kraut and brine are amazing digestive tonics consisting of lots of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, bioavailable nutrients, and all sorts of other healthful goodies that help to rebuild healthful bowel flora, facilitate healthful digestion and the elimination of toxins. Mix it up, you can add what you want, try grated carrots, turnips, beets or burdock. You can try other fruits, vegetables and herbs too including apples, garlic, onions, seaweed, your favorite leafy greens, caraway seeds, celery seeds, or dill seeds, even juniper berries. Have fun!

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