Sadly, sauerkraut cannot be made any other way than in a crock...there is a jar method, which I will talk about too..but I have never done it. I studied the three canning books I have used for the better part of my life, and I even went to the Library to see if there was more to see.....A friend of mine works at a local grocery here, and I asked them about how they made their "store brand" kraut.....and they use a crock too..only it is a HUGE vat type....so....it must be made the way it has been made for several centuries...that I could find.(I will talk about the jar method...)
To 50 pounds of cabbage (sounds like a lot?!), use 1 pound of canning salt (use canning salt, or sea salt..NOT Iodized salt, could also use "pretzel" salt, and also "coarse" salt.)
remove outer leaves and any damaged or wilted leaves. Wash and drain.
Shred, using a slaw cutter, sharp knife,,or a shredder, into thin shreds about the thickness of a dime.
In a large container, mix 5 lbs cabbage with 2 T salt, mix well.Let stand several minutes to wilt slightly, this allows packing without excessive breaking or bruising of the shreds.
Pack salted cabbage firmly and evenly into a large container (like a crock),Use a wooden spoon or a wooden tamper, press down firmly, until juice comes to the surface.
Repeat the shredding, salting, wilting, packing, until all cabbage has been used.
The container used, should be thought about before hand, as you want to pack almost to the top, leaving about 4 inches from the top.
Cover cabbage with a clean , white, muslin cloth,tucking the edges down against the inside of the container. Weight cabbage under the brine-most common used is a plate with some sort of weight on it.Some of the brine will get onto the plate. The cabbage should never be exposed to the air. A glass jar filled with water is a good weight to use on the plate.
It takes about 6 weeks for fermentation to be complete....Every day, you must take the muslin cover off...rinse well in HOT water, skim the scum off the top of the cabbage, and cover and weight again. Between 5 and 6 weeks, you can taste test how you like it.
WARNING: ANY signs of a pink color to ANY part of the cabbage...toss it out! You would be seeing botulism in the making......
HOT WATER BATH: 15 mins., pints, 20 mins., quarts.
Heat sauerkraut to simmering, pack in jars, cover with hot liquid, to 1/2 inch from top, seal as usual.
I am going to give a link to "sauerkraut in 11 steps", and I was surprised at how loosey-goosey they were about not removing the scum daily.......http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Sauerkraut
This next link is very informative, but I have never made it this way...http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/how-to-make-sauerkraut/
all I can say, is if you are interested, to give it a try...many failures happen before successes! So do not be discouraged! At best, when you are finished, and you have to toss it out...you have made great compost!!!
You cannot make sauerkraut without salt. When you open a jar, to eat, you can put it in a colander and rinse it well, that will take a lot of salt away.
Ginger root does not keep the "scum" away....you have to have the scum, for the natural fermentation.....all it will do is give a flavor to the kraut. remember...the microbes are in the air......not all in the cabbage......the muslin keeps the light off the cabbage, but lets air in........and keeps the dust and dirt out. I sit my crock on a chair in a corner near my sink....so I see it every day..and remember to tend to it...keep it out of the sunlight tho...not in front of a window.
Someone asked about canning green beans and potatoes together,,,yes, you can..you can mix any type vegetables together,,,,BUT...you must can them according the the LONGEST canning time of whatever vegetable you have mixed...green beans are : 20 mins, pts., 10 lbs. pressure, 25 mins., qts., 10 lbs. pressure. Potatoes,35 mins., pts., 10 lbs. pressure, 40 mins., qts., 10 lbs. pressure- so you would can the green bean/ potato mixture for the longer time.Will it make the beans mushy? No, not really...if you are thinking ahead to your canning...you would not totally cook the green beans, just a quick blanching, as the canning time will cook them pretty much then, and also, when you open that jar later..you will be at the very least, heating it up...
Many people have mushy canned foods, because they forget that the food is not going to be used right away, and are so use to "just cooking", then their canned products are a disappointment...a little thinking ahead saves a lot of that.
Sauerkraut does not smell bad at all while it is fermenting..you CAN tell something is in the kitchen!! LOL! But it is not a disgusting smell....nor does the "scum" look bad either. I have a very sensitive stomach and I never thought I could do this...but about 35 yrs ago my new hubby asked me to try.....and I held my nose!! LOL! BUT..I was surprised! It bothers me when I see, like that one web site where she puts them in the jars...and does nothing......because the keeping of the scum off the top...is so important..IT is what can cause spoilage.....so if you try the jar method, I would still take a spoon each day and take it off....it is on the sides, near the top, and sometimes on the very top most of the cabbage...a good "skimming" with a spoon is good.and it IS important to wash all vegetables..even if they are from your own garden...there is no mystical microbe hiding in a cabbage leaf..if it is...it is most likely a worm!! from the cabbage butterfly! Think about it....during the night..animals walk in gardens.......and do things in gardens....so I WOULD WASH all my vegetables.....if I need a special microbe I will just breathe a little deeper!!!
Thursday I will give a primer on canning vegetables.....
Someone had asked about my favorite advice......it is not really advice, but something I heard over and over and over, growing up...."You eat what you can, and you can what you can't! come winter...you will be glad you COULD!!!!!"I think my Mom and Grandma said that just to keep me inspired in the kitchen when I was little!!! LOL!