My husband, Andy, is so excited about this. I mean, I love it too, and so do the girls, but this is the first thing he’s made himself.
First he tried fermenting the cabbage in mason jars, which has worked for some of our friends. But in a few days time ours were moldy. The large piece of cabbage that we used on top to keep everything submerged wouldn’t stay down. When exposed to air it became moldy, and the mold spread to the shredded cabbage below.
So we went ahead and bought a ceramic crock. It was expensive, but it will save us money in the long run. That jar of Bubbies we buy every week at the health food store is expensive. Still, if buying a ceramic crock is out of the question for you, then I hope you will enjoy hearing about how it works. It is fascinating.
I used a ratio of 1 tablespoon of salt per 2 cups of purified water. My big crock held about 3 shredded cabbages and about 8 cups of salted water.
Like my friends who make sauerkraut (successfully) in mason jars, I placed whole cabbage leaves on top of the shredded cabbage.
Next come the weights. These came with my crock, but some crocks sell them separately. The weights keep everything submerged to prevent mold.
After you put the lid on the crock, water is poured into a well around the lid. This is a brilliant system. (And I think you will find it interesting even if you never do this yourself.) Gas is formed inside the crock. The gas escapes through an opening in the lid, which is covered by the water in the well around the lid.
The gas from inside can escape, but no air can enter the crock, because the only opening is covered in the well of water around the lid.
We put our crock on a cabinet at the bottom of our basement stairs, and we fermented it for 3 to 4 weeks. It’s very dry here, so we had to add water to the lid almost every day. Here it is inside the crock after fermenting:
Our large crock made over 3 quart sized mason jars of sauerkraut (as seen in the top photo). We ate some right away, then we put it in the fridge to keep. It is so good. It’s crunchier than store-bought, but so good (to soften, just let it ferment a few weeks longer in the pot).
In 2012 we bought a 7.5 liter Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pot, which seems to no longer be in production. On amazon we found a similar German-made 5 liter fermenting pot K & K Keramik.