Had to go out and about today... Got a glorious head of cabbage at the fruit exchange for $1.95. So guess what? It's kraut making time :)
Kraut is a lacto-fermentation. Remember those yummy ass carrots? Same thing, veggie, salt, and mother natures preservation. And by luck, I happen to have a crock I can ferment in- thanks sis!
And right off the bat, you need to sanitize your crock and weight plate. Simple, some white vinegar and water, bring to a boil, and fill your crock up with the plate sitting on the bottom. Let it sit till it's needed. But sanitizing is necessary, to kill off anything that might be around- just like when you do canning, you sanitize the jars, even if they are freshly washed.
How do you know when the stuff is fermented? Well, during fermentation, there are bubbles, and once the bubbles stop, fermenting is done. This can take a couple weeks, but by keeping it cool and letting it ferment longer, you get a tastier kraut. I've seen some folks say it can be done in days, but slow and low is better as far as I'm concerned. So this will probably sit for a goodly month before I do anything else with it. Some folks just leave their kraut in the crocks till eating time, but alas, I only have one crock right now. So when it's time to take it out, I will either vacuum pack it for the fridge, or more likely, can the stuff in a hot water bath to make it shelf stable. That is, if there is any left over to store once we chow down on it :)