Thankfulness #12 for this month: I'm thankful that I got the cabbage-- lots, and lots of cabbage, this many, in fact --taken care of. Some of it went to friends who did not have a cabbage bounty of their own, some of it became cabbage rolls (both for dinner and for the freezer to dole out into DH's lunch box in the months to come), some became freezer slaw. Most of it got chopped into thin strands, salted, and packed into the big 10 gallon crock DH's grandmother gave me years ago, where it will spend the next six week s fermenting into sauerkraut.
Inside the crock: cabbage salted and packed; after a little while the salt draws enough juice from the cabbage that it is submerged. I then covered the cabbage shreds with muslin, tucking the muslin in well on the edges. Then a plate is placed over that, and gallon baggies filled with water (for weight) put on top of the plate. The idea is to keep the cabbage itself submerged, so no air (and germs) can get to it during the fermentation process.
Then the crock itself is covered with a cloth, as shown above. After that, I convince DH to carry it to the basement for me. The crock empty weighs probably close to 20 pounds, and it has about 30 pounds of cabbage stuffed into it at the moment, plus two gallons of water at 8 pounds each. . .
The basement has an ideal temperature range for fermenting, keeping the cabbage around 70 degrees for the length of the fermentation process.
In the next six weeks, the making of kraut doesn't require much effort from me. Mostly it's the hours washing and shredding and salting and packing in the beginning, and the canning at the end that need my attention. Other than that it just sits and does it's thing. And smells a bit, which is another reason it's in the basement and not on the main floor of the house!