Homemade Sauerkraut

Every fall, my dad makes homemade sauerkraut and it's become quite the family event. It's not home canning because canning would be too much work...he freezes it and this is so much easier. It tastes great and I use it to make my version (actually Grandma's version) of sauerkraut , but my dad serves it up a little differently. He puts a bag or two in crock pot, cooking it on low for 6-8 hours, then adds ½ cup of brown sugar and some caraway seed to taste. So now you'll have two ways to prepare this wonderful vegie. Here's what you need to turn cabbage into kraut:

-10-12 gallon crock
-Canning Salt
-8-10 heads of cabbage (15-18 pounds each)
-a large wooden stick with a flat bottom like a mallet

Wash the cabbage heads and remove any bad outer leaves; don’t throw the outer leaves away though. Start filling the crock by shredding 1 to 1 ½ heads of cabbage into the bottom. Add a handful of salt (approximately ¼ cup). Stomp the cabbage until liquid starts to show. Taste test for saltiness. Some people like their cabbage more salty than others so you may want to add more or less. This is one recipe where you will have to experiment a little.

Add another head of cabbage, more salt (the next layers of salt can be less as the cabbage starts to blend) and keep stomping until you get within three inches of the top of the crock. You want to pack the cabbage really tight in the crock. Next, cover it with the outer cabbage leaves that you previously removed. Place a large, upside down plate on top and push everything down. You should have 2-3 inches of water at the top so the cabbage is submerged. Gently, place a 10 pound rock on top of the plate, cover the whole crock with a trash bag so it remains in the dark and keep it in a cool place. Poke a two inch hole in the top of the bag to let out the gasses created while it ferments. Leave the cabbage sit for a minimum of 5 weeks, but 12 weeks is better. Anything in between is fine.

After the fermenting is complete, open up the bag, remove 2-3 inches from the top and throw this out. The rest of the kraut should be placed in freezer bags or containers and placed in the freezer. When you're ready to serve it up, take a bag of homemade sauerkraut out of the freezer and prepare it whichever way you like best!

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