1 head cabbage
1 Tbsp. sea salt
Optional herbs and spices: Some of my favorite are dill, caraway, fennel, oregano and basil
1 quart glass jar and lid
Wooden dowel or your hands
Weight, a tea light holder, or drinking glass.
Remove outer layer of leaves from cabbage and discard.
Cut cabbage into quarters and remove core.
Chop or grate cabbage according to desired texture. Place cabbage in a large bowl.
Using a wooden dowel or your hands begin to “chew” the cabbage, pounding with the dowel or scrunching with your hands. This will begin to break down the cell walls of the cabbage and release liquid. Sprinkling the salt on as you go. The salt also pulls the water out of the cabbage; this creates the brine that allows the cabbage to ferment without rotting.
Continue “chewing” until cabbage is really glistening. You can overdue this step and then you may have sauerkraut that is a bit on the soft or soggy side. If you like your sauerkraut a bit more crunchy just don’t pound it as hard.
At this time you can also add other vegetables, fruit and spices and herbs. Some good additions are: onions, garlic, turnips, beets, apples, dill, caraway seeds, and/or celery seeds.
Mix ingredients together in the bowl then begin adding to the jar a little at a time and pushing down with the wooden dowel. The water from the cabbage will begin to release and you will notice it start to rise.
Continue packing the cabbage into the jar, until the jar is filled 1” from the top. This will allow the natural brine level to rise and completely submerge the cabbage. Place the weight on top of the cabbage to make sure the brine covers the cabbage. (The brine will increase over the next several minutes. If after 1 hour the brine isn’t covering the top of the cabbage when you add in a weight, then you will need to remove some of the sauerkraut from the jar and pound it a little bit longer to release more water.)
Store at room temperature for 3-10 days, checking every day to make sure the brine is covering the cabbage and to press down on the weight to burp the veggies and allow the gas bubbles to dissipate. After 3-10 days cover jar with a lid a place in the refrigerator, use within 4-6 months.