We've been putting up quite a few goodies lately. Our sauerkraut was finally ready today and it tastes unbelievable. Since we eat mostly raw, I just put the kraut in sterilized jars to store in the refrigerator. I've read it should keep for months this way. If we had canned it using a water bath, we would have first brought the kraut to a boil on the stove and then canned it.
We started out by ordering a 3 gallon crock online from Lehman's. It's very heavy and so beautiful. The inside is a pretty chocolate brown.
When we received the crock, we then harvested the last of our cabbages - 4 large and 3 small/medium. Next, the cabbage was shredded super fast in our food processor in batches. As each batch was finished, we put in in a large bowl and added 1 T. of celtic sea salt, stirring it all with a wooden spoon.
When all batches were finished, the salted cabbage was put in the crock. The fun part was next--pressing the cabbage with a large (giant) wooden spoon until juices covered the cabbage. We used unbleached cheesecloth for a cover, placed a salad plate on top and weighted everything down with two gallon baggies filled with water (making sure all the cabbage was covered with the juices.) That was it! Every 2-3 days, we changed out the cheesecloth and plate and rinsed the water filled bags. We kept the top of the crock covered with a dishtowel throughout.
The whole process took around 4-5 weeks. Today was the unveiling and tasting. Unbelievable. So crunchy, not too salty, with a bit of tang and actually a bit of sweetness from the fantastic cabbage straight from the garden. I truly don't think this sauerkraut will last very long. It gave us 6 quarts to put in the fridge, and we've been munching on the rest this afternoon (probably another quart). Yummy!