You won’t find tips like this in any recipe book, it’s golden.
Jim’s Secrets to Super Sauerkraut
I understand that you are looking for “sauerkraut anecdotes”. Well, here are my observations from years of making good (so they tell me) kraut.
#1. Everybody seems to have the same S.O.P. with this exception, —– I slice mine thicker when I do the shredding. That means the fermentation / pickling process will take a bit longer than what most recipes indicate. Which brings up the only other variable I can think of, —– that being: how long should it remain in the brine??
#2. This is where recipes differ the most. I have heard as short as 3 days, and as long as 3 weeks. When all traces of “white spots” are gone from the shredded cabbage, when the “bubbling stops”, when owls start to hoot before sunset, etc. You can’t go by any specific time or event. It all depends on temperature, thickness of the shreds, age of the cabbage, water content of the cabbage, sugar content of the cabbage, etc.
I taste mine, when it tastes like sauerkraut,—- it’s time to can it.
In warmer conditions, it doesn’t as long. If the weather turns cold and the “brew” gets chilled, it can take weeks– even months, before it is done! One year it turned cold early and I ended up carrying that heavy crock (with it’s contents) inside where it was warmer.
Oh,—- that reminds me to tell you that there is nothing magic about a crock. Perhaps it has certain insulating features which tend to even-out the peaks of temperature fluctuations. You can make good kraut in a plastic (food grade) pail. I use plastic wine and beer fermentation pails because they are light weight.
So,—- when someone tells you that the secret of good kraut making is in the tamping of the cabbage, or that it takes a specific amount of time, etc. —– just smile and say “thanks for the tip.”