Learn to make your own kraut [Split from Midwest Board]
[This post was split by the Chowhound Team from this post about finding kraut juice on the Midwest Board http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6699...]
Learn to make your own kraut and you'll never run out of kraut juice. It's really easy, but it does take about two weeks to ferment.
white cabbage, sliced really thin (or use a mandoline)
kosher or canning salt (salt to cabbage ratio is 3 tbsp salt to 5 lbs cabbage)
1-3 garlic cloves (optional)
1 tbsp juniper berries (optional)
A little filtered water, as needed
large canning jar or fermenting crock
kraut pounder or wooden mallet
Slice cabbage a thinly as you can. Add salt. Pound shredded cabbage until juice runs out of it. Add juniper berries and garlic. Pack tightly into jar or crock, weight kraut under juices (use additional water here, if needed) so it will ferment anaerobically. Skim mold off top if it should it form on water. Store in dark place. Kraut is ready in about two weeks. Store in fridge after fermenting is complete.
You can find all kinds of recipes and guides out there if you really get into it. A great book about fermenting is called "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz.
It will be absolutely the best kraut you ever tasted. Makes a great gift to the foodies in your life, too.
Yes, brine is important. I didn't mention it for a one-cabbage-head batch, because you need so little water to top off a canning jar. But if you're making kraut at larger scale, you should use a brine strength of 3 tablespoons kosher or canning salt to one quart of filtered water. Water must be filtered (Brita pitcher, for example) because chlorine prevents proper fermenting.