1. Rinse head of cabbage.
2. Save a large outer leaf of cabbage to aid in keeping shredded cabbage sumberged in liquid.
3. Core and slice cabbage
4. Place cabbage in a large bowl and any additional vegetables, if desired.
5. Weigh and add appropriate amount of salt and any other desired seasoning.
6. Massage with your hands until it begins to release liquid.
7. Pack the cabbage into a jar and press down with a tamper, your fist or a ladle leaving several inches of headspace.
8. Fold up a cabbage leaf to approximately the size of the container and place on top of the sliced cabbage in the jar.
9. Place some type of weight on top of the cabbage leaf to keep the cabbage submerged in brine.
10. Add additional liquid, if needed, to ensure that the cabbage is submerged. Use a solution of 1 tsp. non-iodized salt to 1 cup non-chlorinated water. Most cabbage in the supermarket is not super fresh. That's ok, it just means that it will produce less liquid than a fresher cabbage. I highly recommend that you add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of additional salt water liquid per quart to your sauerkraut, especially if you're using a cabbage from the store. The reason for this is that when you put the finished sauerkraut in the fridge, it will soak up liquid as it chills, and you don't want dry sauerkraut!
11. Place a lid on the jar and turn back slightly, so it's not airtight, allowing the pressure to escape. Place a plate under the jar to catch any bubbling over that may occur.
12. Continue to press cabbage down occasionally during the first 24 hours. It will continue to release liquid.
13. Each day, I recommend sliding a knife down the side of the jar to release air bubbles and pockets and pressing down on the sauerkraut. This will discourage mold growth. In addition, it will allow the jar to release pressure that builds as the sauerkraut ferments. Sauerkraut tends to be an active ferment and you don't want to have any sauerkraut explosions.
14. I generally let this ferment for a week or two, but you can let it go for as long as you like, with a minimum of 3 days in the summer and 4 days in the winter. The longer it ferments, the more complex the flavor will become. That being said, it's done when it tastes good to you! The main indicator that the lactobacillus has begun to work is that it will begin to taste sour, rather than just salty.
15. Cover with an airtight lid and store in the fridge for up to a year.
Some people salt their cabbage to taste, but if you want a greater likelihood of successful ferments like sauerkraut and curtido, invest in an inexpensive scale. There are many kitchen scales under $10 on Amazon. If you plan on doing sourdough anytime in the future, a kitchen scale will come in handy for that as well. Make sure to get one that measures in grams, as well as ounces.
If you don't have non-chlorinated water, set water out for at least 30 minutes and preferably overnight. This will allow the chlorine to dissipate, otherwise chlorine can kill the beneficial organisms necessary for a successful ferment.
I like these lids for ferments because they allow some of the gas to escape, but they also do not deteriorate and get yucky around the rim of the jar when ferments are stored in the fridge long term. If you want a tighter seal in the fridge, you can use seals like this with the lids.
About 1 1/2 pounds of cabbage will fit in a 1 quart jar. It looks like a lot at first, but as it releases liquid, it will reduce by quite a bit.
I don't love plain sauerkraut. I think of sauerkraut as a backdrop for all kinds of interesting flavors. Use your imagination. Try to use whole spices rather than ground, as ground spices are more prone to mold.
Lemon/Dill: 1 1/2 lb. cabbage, 3 tsp. salt, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. dried dill, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 diced green onions, additional liquid: 1/2 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt.
Red Cabbage instead of Green
Thinly sliced, or grated Apple
Thinly sliced, or grated Carrot
Thinly sliced, or grated Beets
Thinly sliced, or grated Celery Root
Thinly sliced, or grated Daikon Radish
Thinly sliced, or grated Ginger