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Russian Sauerkraut
Kislaya Kapusta

5 lb. green cabbage, shredded should be about 16 cups),
1 large whole cabbage leaf, reserved
4 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup fresh lingonberries or cranberries, picked over and rinsed
2 medium sized tart apples (Granny Smith), cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 1/2 tbs. coarse (kosher) salt
1 tsp. sugar

Combine the shredded cabbage with the carrots, lingonberries or
cranberries, and apples in a very large bowl or bucket. Use your
fingers to toss thoroughly with the salt and sugar, making sure it
is evenly distributed. Let stand for 1 hour.

Transfer the vegetables and the accumulated liquid into a 2- gallon
jar with a wide mouth or a small nonreactive bucket. Cover with
the reserved cabbage leaf. Place a saucer on the cabbage leaf and
weight with a large can filled with water or a small work-out
weight. The cabbage should be completely submerged in liquid.
Place a double layer of clean wet cheesecloth over the mouth of
the jar and tie securely with kitchen string. Place in a
well-ventilated place, at about 65F to 75F.

Every day for the next four days, remove and rinse out the cheesecloth.
Before replacing it, remove any scum that might appear on the
cabbage leaf and top of the shredded cabbage. Then pierce the
shredded cabbage to the bottom of the jar in several places to
release the gases. Also, make sure the cabbage is totally submerged
in the brine. If it isn't, add enough water to cover. Taste the
cabbage, and if it seems well on its way to fermentation, transfer
it to a cooler spot (a garage or dry basement might be ideal).
The sauerkraut will take a total of 10 to 12 days until it is fully
fermented. Be sure to check and taste it daily.

After that time, transfer the sauerkraut to individual sterilized
jars, add the brining liquid, and seal. It will keep for up to 3
months in the refrigerator.

Notes: I make my sauerkraut in a big gallon-sized glass jar, with
a wide mouth. The mouth of the jar is just the right size for a
narrow quart-jar full of water to fit down in it as a weight. When
I make this recipe, I find that the veggies never throw off enough
liquid to completely cover them. When I make mine, I want at least
1 inch of liquid above the cabbage. When you have the kraut in
the jar, if you need more liquid to cover, add more brine. This
is important!: use about 1 tsp. salt to 1 cup cold water--don't
use just plain water, as it will lower the salinity and may make
the sauerkraut unsafe!

Also, I find that it takes considerably longer than 10-12 days for
the sauerkraut to be ready. Mine usually takes about a month. I
also leave it in the kitchen the entire time rather than finding
a cool place for it. However, after the 10th day, you can pretty
much leave it to its own devices, just checking every couple days
to make sure the water level is okay. Nor do you need to taste it
everytime you check it; your nose should be able to tell you when
it is ready. It will have the tangy smell of good kraut.


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