Cabbages are amazing! I bought this cabbage (and two more) from a nice Amish lady I know several weeks ago and it has been living in our food storage room, which this time of year stays at about 40 degrees F. Yesterday, I remembered it and lo and behold! I had it sitting in there top down, and it was trying to grow a couple more little cabbages. :) It was also looking a bit gone by, so I decided I'd better use it up asap so it won't go to waste.
I took off all the dried and icky leaves ~ yes, you CAN safely use a cabbage that is beginning to decompose if you will simply strip off all of the ruined parts. I lost a lot of it, but there was quite a bit left. Here is all the icky stuff I pulled and cut off:
Here is the cleaned cabbage as well as part of another one I had in the refrigerator. I made all of this into a batch of sauerkraut:
I have made sauerkraut many times through the years, and most often have simply cut it up as thinly as possible with a good sharp knife. I've also used a "kraut cutter" (an old fashioned wooden device with sharp blades specifically designed to do this,) but now I use my electric food processor. It makes it SO easy.
Here it is, all shredded in a very large bowl:
I added 2 Tablespoons of RealSalt, mixed it in with my hands, and let the shredded cabbage sit for 30 minutes. Here is what it looked like after wilting a bit with the salt:
Now comes the fun part. This is what I was referring to in the title of this post. I use my hands to "squish" the salted cabbage for about 5 minutes with my hands until it is very juice:
I had some of the juice leftover from a previous batch of kraut. This juice, being raw, is rich in lacto-bacteria and I added it to the new batch to speed up the fermentation. That batch was made with purple cabbage, hence the color:
I added all of that (this is optional) and also 2 Tablespoons of caraway seeds(optional), mixed it all well and here is what it looked like then:
Then, I packed it firmly into a Pickle-It jar, closed the lid and put on the airlock with water in it.
This will sit (out of direct light) in the kitchen until it is "done." After some days, I will taste it and see what I think. When I like the flavor, I'll pack it in a different glass jar and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep a LONG time and is a wonderfully healthy addition to any meal, as the lacto-bacillus aids digestion. Of course, the cabbage is good for you too!
It is not necessary to have a Pickl-It jar. There are other ways. I used to pack my kraut in a glass or food safe plastic bucket and put water inside 2 zip-lock bags and use that as a weight to keep the kraut below the liquid. The bag was also big enough to completely cover the top of the ferment. Some people use a Fido jar. I have not tried that yet, but plan to. Some express concern that it might explode. I will just plan to not be in the kitchen when that happens... ;)