Yesterday at the grocery store they had some "home made" smoked polish sausage for sale in the deli at a good price so I bought some. As soon as I seen it my brain flashed back to the Home made sauerkraut at the house that was more than ready to be eaten, so I swung over to the frozen section and grabbed some potato & cheese perogies to round out the meal. All I can say is WOW!!! This was our first attempt at making Sauerkraut and it is by far the best I have ever had. It is so ridiculously simple to make, I believe store bought is no longer going to be the norm. We did not buy anything special to do this, just a simple 2qt mason jar with a lid and ring. Just 2 ingredients, cabbage and salt and some time and thats it. There are many different recipes out their and some of them want you to add whey or other things like leftover sauerkraut juice, we did not go that route. Here is a reply from someone regarding left over juice and or whey... Dave_37 says... “You should never "back-slop" sauerkraut. In other words, do not use sauerkraut juice as a starter for the next batch. The cabbage leaves already have enough bacteria to start the fermentation; backslopping just interferes with the normal population dynamics and causes your sauerkraut to skip some of the earlier steps. The sauerkraut juice comes from the late-stage sauerkraut and is full of acid-loving bacteria, but your new sauerkraut hasn't gone through the steps to create that acidic environment yet. Most of the recipes from Nourishing Traditions regards ferments are just flat out wrong. It's naive to toss in a cup of whey whenever you are fermenting something just because the whey has bacteria and the substrate needs bacteria. Better to understand the fermentation process, the population dynamics of the particular ferment you are attempting, and the best way to get the correct culture for that ferment into the substrate. Whey is useful in limited situations, while sauerkraut tastes best when wild-fermented. (There is actually science to prove this if anybody is interested.)...” Not being an expert on the subject, it makes sense to me, so we only used Salt. Another thing that virtually all of the recipes we found called for putting the kraut in the fridge after a week. We definitely did not do that, ours has been on the counter out of direct sunlight since last August!! Yep 6 months, and it was fantastic! When I opened the jar, there was a slight vacuum seal to the lid. That surprised me a little, but it was warmer out when we made it, so it makes sense. Also it was a little reassuring. I gave it the sniff test because the Mean Ole' Wife said no way. It smelled just like sauerkraut, woo hoo lets give it a shot! We did not eat it raw, being our first experiment. We browned the sliced up polish sausage and then drained the kraut dumped into the frying pan, added some carawayseeds, a little apple cider and a little honey and simmered it about 10-15 minutes to marry all of the flavors. Served it with fried perogies.... AWESOME GOOD Kids devoured it. Here is the recipe we went with, the only difference was that we used a ziplock bag filled with 2% brine to weigh down the cabbage. How to Make Sauerkraut Author: The Prairie Homestead Recipe type: Fermented Foods Cuisine: German Ingredients 1 head green cabbage* 1.5 tablespoons sea salt Clean glass jar (I usually use one average head of cabbage per quart-sized mason jar) *I'm writing this recipe for one head of cabbage, BUT, keep in mind it takes nearly the same amount of effort to make a lot of kraut as it does a little... So don't be afraid to make a BIG batch. Instructions Wash the cabbage and remove any wilted outer leaves. Quarter the cabbage, remove the core, and slice the cabbage into thin strips (I shoot for around ¼" wide). Try to make the strips as uniform as possible, but don't feel like they have to be perfect. Place the strips in a large bowl, and sprinkle the sea salt over the top. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes or so, and then start mashing. There isn't a right or wrong way to do this-- just use your hands, a mallet, or whatever blunt object you can find to mash/knead/twist/press/crush the cabbage. The goal is to start the juices flowing. (It helps if you can think of something that makes you mad while you do this--it's better than therapy, really...) I mash/knead for about 8-10 minutes. Hopefully by the end of this process, you'll have a lovely pool of salty cabbage juice sitting in the bottom of your bowl. Place a couple handfuls of cabbage into the jar, then thoroughly pack down with a wooden spoon. The goal is to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible. Repeat the packing and mashing until the jar is full-- just make sure to leave about 2" at the top. If you there is enough liquid flowing from your cabbage to cover it completely, congrats! If not, make a 2% brine solution to fill up the rest of the jar. (If you don't completely submerse the cabbage in liquid, it's susceptible to mold and other gunk). To Make a 2% Brine: Dissolve 1 tablespoon fine sea salt in 4 cups non-chlorinated water. If you don't use all of the brine for this recipe, it will keep indefinitely in the fridge. Cover the exposed cabbage with brine, leaving 1" of headspace at the top. If you are having troubles with the cabbage floating to the top, you can weigh it down with a glass weight, OR even wedge a piece of the cabbage core on top to hold it down. Any cabbage that is exposed will need to be thrown away, but you were going to toss the core anyway, so it's no big loss. Affix a lid to the jar (finger tight only), and set aside in a room-temperature location, out of direct sunlight, for at least one week. You'll probably want to place a small dish or tray under the jar, as they have the tendency to leak a bit and spill over. Also, removing the lid after a day or so to "burp" the jar and release any pent-up gasses is also a smart idea. Taste and smell your kraut after one week. If it's tangy enough, move to the refrigerator for storage. If you like a bit more tang, simply allow to ferment for a bit longer.