3 lbs cabbage, core removed and sliced thinly
2 large cabbage leaves
3 teaspoons canning salt
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons charnushka (black caraway)
9 black peppercorns
a plastic bag filled with water and tied closed
a pickling or other nonreactive crock
Whisk together the salt, caraway, charnushka and peppercorns in a small bowl. Toss 1/3 of of the spices with the cabbage in a large bowl. When evenly distributed, repeat twice more with the remaining spices. Allow to sit 10 minutes. Spread a small layer over the bottom of the crock. Pack down using the potato masher. Repeat until all of the cabbage is gone. Pour in any remaining liquid from the bowl. It should cover the cabbage by about 1/4 inch. If not, add distilled water to cover. The crock should be about 3/4 full. Cover completely with the cabbage leaves. Place the bag in the crock to hold down the cabbage. Place the crock or jar in a dark, warm (about 72-78°) place for three days. Then move to a dark, cool place (70°) for three weeks to ferment. Do not peek at any time! Remove the bag and large leaves and there you go: homemade sauerkraut. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Yield: about 1 gallon
I was a little scared to try to make my own sauerkraut but I am glad I did. It is a good introduction to home fermenting. Now this recipe is a little different in its use of flavoring that most recipes I’ve seen. Most recipes seem to call for juniper berries but I think I have a mild allergy to juniper so I used black pepper. I also added charnushka, which is sort of a slightly smoky tasting relative of caraway in addition to regular caraway. I really liked how it came out. It tasted like sauerkraut (obviously) but very fresh and with a wonderful spice note. Perfect to use in any way you’d use the store-bought stuff.