Recipe by Tara Whitsitt of Fermentation on Wheels
1 gallon glass jar or crock
Weight (river rocks, yogurt lid or plate and heavy things)
Cloth and rubber band
6 lb cabbage
2 lb carrots
1 Tbsp. caraway seed
1 Tbsp. cumin seed
3 chopped Thai chilis
3 Tbsp. unrefined sea salt
Prep your cabbage and carrots. Slice the cabbage and cut the carrots julienne style. Put them in a big bowl. If you have outer leaves of cabbage, rather than compost them, save them to the side.
Add caraway, cumin, and Thai chilis to your veggies.
Add 2 Tbsp. of salt and massage into your ingredients for 3-5 minutes. Your cabbage will release water, which will serve as your kraut’s brine. Don’t forget to taste prior to packing – you may want to add more salt to your liking. The addition of salt is important for a multitude of reasons, but how much you add is up to you.
Take a handful of the vegetables and squeeze above the bowl. They are ready to pack when water easily releases from the vegetables once squeezed.
Pack the vegetables into a gallon glass jar until brine is above your veggies. Packing it below the brine is important! Any vegetables exposed to air may grow a layer of mold. You can scrape off the mold (it’s not dangerous), but you will lose a little bit of kraut.
Once it’s packed down, take the cabbage leaves set aside from the beginning and layer them on top of your kraut.
7. Weigh it down. You can fill a small jar with water and sit it on top of your ferment. My winning method is scrubbed and boiled river rocks.
8. Cover your vessel with a cloth and rubber band to keep bugs and dust particles out.
9. Wait a week and taste your kraut. You may want to keep it going another week, but it’s good practice to try your ferments along their journey. Ferments will work at different speeds depending on their environment. Temperature is a huge factor: Most ferments thrive best at 68 to 76° F, and will ferment faster the warmer it is and slower the cooler it is.
10. When your ferment is to your liking, cover it with a lid and place in the fridge or other cold storage. Keeping your kraut cold slows the fermentation process, so you can enjoy the flavor reached from the day you put it in the fridge.