OK it doesn't have to be purple - any organic cabbage will do - but purple is so much prettier in my opinion! I'll be honest, I've been thinking about making my own sauerkraut for years (thanks to the inspiration from my sister-in-law) and even tried once before successfully executing this batch. I got lazy with my failed batch so mold overtook it. Yep, you heard that correctly but don't let it scare you! It's perfectly normal for mold to occur in the fermentation process and as long as you're checking on your kraut every other day and tending to it, you're golden.
Here's what you need to make the kraut:
1 purple or green organic cabbage (organic is important because you don't want all the nasty pesticides in your kraut)
1 tbsp Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp caraway seeds
1-2 large mason jars or yogurt type containers with lids (this really depends on your cabbage size. You only want to fill a container about half way)
1 smaller jar or container that can fit into mouth of your larger jar/container
1 rubber band
Here's what you need to do:
Remove outer leaves from cabbage and chop entire thing except core thinly (the thinner the better).
Once chopped, add cabbage to large mixing bowl with 1 tbsp of salt and massage together for 5-10 mins until your cabbage really sweats a.k.a releases juices (this is the part where your personal bacteria gets planted for the development of your own batch of good gut bacteria). Fun!
Let sit for a few minutes so things can get to know each other. After a few mins, add tsp of caraway seeds and massage some more.
When things are nice and juicy, spoon cabbage into mason jar(s) or container(s) to the half way full mark. Then place your smaller jar down into larger jar and add pressure. The amount of pressure you add, determines the amount of juices being created by the cabbage on the bottom of the jar. The more juice the better - the goal is to have juices cover the cabbage.
Place plastic wrap over top of smaller jar and secure rubber band tightly around mouth of larger jar. If you have something heavy like a cook book that you can place on top of it all, even better. The key is consistent pressure to create juices.
Place jars in a room temperature dark spot - not too hot, not too cold. Continue to put pressure on smaller jar to create more juices in the bottom over the next 24 hours. Again, you want the juices to cover the cabbage.
If your cabbage is not covered in juices after 24 hours and a good amount of pressure on the smaller jar, make a quick brine by dissolving 1-2 tsp of salt in 1 cup water and add to large jar.
Once your cabbage is covered in juices, screw lids onto large jar(s) and set aside for 3-5 weeks to wait for the magic to happen.
Note: have a peek at your first batch every other day (why I like a mason jar because you can see through it). You may notice some mold forming. Don't be alarmed, small amounts is totally normal. Just scoop it out quickly and put everything back to sit.
So there you have it! And please don't be alarmed by all these steps. It's more waiting than doing when it comes to your own kraut and the end result is oh so worth it! Your gut microbiome will thank you :)