I'm Polish by descent, so growing up, we ate a lot of sauerkraut. Always the store bought stuff, usually caramelized with some onions. It's delicious.
But lately I've been getting into making my own sauerkraut. I use red cabbage because I like the added color it gives to my meals. I eat it with sausages and meat loaf, but more often I put a scoop of it in my salad for some added sour crunch. Supposedly it's healthy to eat fermented foods, but I try to just eat as many vegetables as I can. Sauerkraut just happens to be a very delicious vegetable :)
It's surprisingly easy to do if you have the right tools. My mother-in-law got me this crock for Christmas last year.
I just chop up 3 red cabbages into thin strips, knead them with some salt (~1 tablespoon or so per cabbage), and then I pound the cabbage down in the crock with this wooden stick that my mother-in-law also got me, which makes the job so much easier.
Then you cover everything with a cabbage leaf or two, weight it down with the two pickling stones the crock comes with, and squish them down again with the tamping stick until enough water comes out of the cabbage to more or less cover everything. Then you put the lid on the crock, pour some water into the water seal (the groove in which the lid sits), and let it sit on the counter for 2-3 weeks. Check it every day, squishing down the weighting stones each time. If there's a little scum (dried up bubbles basically), just scoop it off the top. The fermentation microbes make the mixture too acidic for any nasty bacteria to survive.
After at least 2 weeks, remove the lid, remove the weighting stones, remove the big cabbage leaves, and behold the beautiful red sauerkraut that's ready to be put mason jars and kept in the fridge for whenever you need it.
It's really very easy (though a bit physically demanding during the "kneading" stage). Three cabbages make me enough sauerkraut to last for about a third of the year. Yeah, we eat a lot in this house...it's just so good on a hot dog!
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