Using a food processor, no manual pounding needed.
Choose your fresh organic cabbage, just red, or a mixture of red and green.
Put aside the outer leaves, you will need these to seal the finished kraut. Chop roughly, (discard the tough stalks and keep these for juicing).
In the food processor, reduce the first batch to a fine consistency which will also produce some juice. This helps to start the natural fermentation process quickly. Transfer to a large bowl. Process the next batch, to your preferred consistency and texture, but don’t leave it in big chunks; you want it to ferment thoroughly and quickly in its own enzymes.
When all is processed, mix the batches together, with a handful of juniper berries, if you have some ( the traditional flavouring for red cabbage ), then fill your jars, or one larger crock.
Any glass jars with well fitting lids will do. One or two – litre Kilner jars are ideal, not too small, but a reasonable size for kitchen storage. They need to be scrupulously clean.
Pack the cabbage mixture into the jars and press down firmly to exclude air. Leave at least two inches for expansion at the top of each jar.
Tear a couple of the reserved outer leaves to the right size to cover the cabbage and turn a little way up the sides of the jar. Press firmly into place. Cover this with a little cooled boiled water and seal the lid.
Keep an eye on the jars. Depending on the mix, the initial temperature, and the sheer delightful variation of live plants, some may ferment rapidly, and want to overflow.
Just loosen the lids, every couple of days, to release the pressure. If you have overfilled your jars, you might get spillage, so for this initial stage, I place mine on a big tray just in case. You can buy special kraut jars with venting lids, but let’s keep it simple to start with.
You could use one big crock instead of several small jars, if you have a cool space to keep it, but continually opening it in a warm kitchen risks invasion by other bacteria. If you prefer to use a big crock, when you have sealed the veggies with cabbage leaves, place a saucer on top of them and weight it to ensure air exclusion. This method needs no added liquid, the quantity of cabbage produces plenty of enzyme rich juice!
There is no rule about when to eat it.
A fresh, week old kraut will give you the same benefits as one stored for months.
That is active plant enzymes, which help at every stage of digestion, and contribute to healthy gut flora, as well as a tangy relish to use in snacks and salads. Drink the liquor as a pick me up.
And maybe sow some seed…. ?
Dr Ann Wigmore taught the traditional pounding method (no added salt, and no need for extra liquid) using big crocks, which would be stored for the winter in a cold place. She learned this as a child in Lithuania and we recently hosted a young student from the same area, whose family still prepared the vegetables for winter storage in this way.
With modern technology, busy lives and smaller centrally heated kitchens, I expect she would understand our need for this faster method and small batches. The important thing is to eat some every day.