Here is the method I've been using for the past year or two, with great success. It's way easier and quicker, and when the sauerkraut is done it's already in jars, so there's no messy repacking.
|This batch of spicy cortido kraut has celery, carrots, cabbage, beets, fresh oregano, and jalapeno.|
|The lovely mixture of shredded veggies|
|I use the slicing blade on cabbage and greens...|
|... and this blade on root veggies.|
|After mixing with the salt, veggies will release their water. This batch has arame seaweed.|
After pressing the veggies deeply into the jar, top off with the brine. Try to distribute the liquid equally between the jars, with the goal of covering the veggies with brine. Using a spoon or clean hand, press all the kraut as much as possible below the level of the brine. If necessary, extra brine can be mixed up to top off the jars. Simply mix salt and water (about a teaspoon of salt per cup of water) and pour over kraut. I have never needed to do this, because I find the veggies always provided enough liquid on their own.
OK, your work is done here. Screw some lids on those jars and let them ferment for anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks! Yes, that is a huge window. It's up to you to decide when they're done. I find it's perfectly good at any point along that continuum; some people like their krauts a little more fresh and crispy, and others like a more mature, softer kraut. For the first few days, fermentation will be very active, and it's best to open the jars enough to release pressure once a day.
Open the jars at least once a week to check for signs of mold (remove any you see with a clean spoon) and press any veggies back under the brine that have strayed. Taste a pinch of veggies each week. Once they're done to your satisfaction, transfer them to the fridge. They'll continue to mature in the fridge, but at a much slower rate. Kraut will last for many, many months under refrigeration. I've even kept it in my cool, dark, garage pantry for about a year and it was still perfectly good.
Sometimes the top layer of the jar will discolor from oxidation; you can discard this layer if you find it unappealing. My chickens gobble up discolored kraut with impunity. An off color does not mean it's gone bad, it's simply oxidized.
For more on the benefits and history of sauerkraut, as well as a whole world of other fermentation ideas, check out the original source of my inspiration, two books by Sandor Katz. Both probably available from your local library, but also definitely worth owning. If you buy either through my ad links below, Amazon gives me a tiny bit of cash. Thanks in advance!
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Easily Make Sauerkraut Right In The Jar
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