I planted a dozen cabbages this year and just harvested the rest of what there was, just as we hit December here in the Atlanta area. They’re delicious and crispy but on the small side, so I needed several for a half gallon kraut, as you see in the photo below. You probably won’t need four cabbages with the large varieties in the supermarket. Cabbage is very reasonably priced even when organic, so I’d advise this. On the other hand, non-organic cabbage is perfectly fine if that’s your only option.
With some of this extra cabbage coming in I wanted to be a little more experimental than usual. I love how the tropical flavor of pineapple is complemented by the clean green heat of jalapeno! This kraut will be just a bit tangier and amped up than the usual.
For a half gallon jar/container, you will need: a knife and cutting board (or food processor); non-iodized salt; filtered, purified, or distilled water; fermenting airlock lids (or any comparable product suggested) and weights or small water-filled ziploc bag(s). If using a regular lid, make sure to “burp” the jar daily (turning slightly to release gas) for a week or so, then as needed.
Pictures are provided below to show the various steps of the process
- Around 4.5-5 lbs. cabbage (before exterior leaves and core removed)
- 1/2 lb. pineapple
- 2 jalapenos (more or less as preferred, taste sample the mix as you go to decide)
- 1 head garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 2 TBS + 1 tsp salt
- Additional 3% brine if/as needed (add 1/2 cup water with 1/2 tsp salt to ensure kraut fully submerged)
- Lightly wash all produce
- Remove the tough, exterior leaves of the cabbage; cut in half at the base of the stem
- Remove the cores of the cabbage (I use a V-shaped cut, shown below)
- Cut down the center of the “V” and create manageable sizes to cut thin strips (remember, the thinner, the softer the kraut will tend to become)
- Cut the jalapeno as desired (sliced, diced, minced, etc.; I sliced then quartered)
- Matchstick cut the pineapple or otherwise cut into thinner strips
- Combine all the ingredients and add the salt, massaging the salt in for about ten minutes (alternately, just thoroughly mix in the salt and let sit for 12-24 hours, covered
- Add the kraut mash and all brine to the jar, packing firmly as you go
- As you will want all the kraut submerged under the brine, add additional brine if needed as described above
- Allow about an inch of headspace between your brine and the top of the jar.
- Follow with any weights, high-tannin leaves, or water-filled plastic bags to maintain submerged vegetables. (Even if there’s no floaters now, there may be later so it’s never a bad idea to be proactive with your coverage)
- Having the brine line right just at or above the shoulder of the jar is a good target. Remember that adding weights or baggies will continue to raise the brine level.
- Allow to ferment at room temperature anywhere from a few weeks to six months. The longer you wait, the more sour, and potentially softer, the kraut will become, until it is refrigerated. Alternately, kraut can be allowed to sit in a dark, cool room temp environment for months or more after fermentation is complete, which can take months.