I started my first batch of sauerkraut today. I have been watching the cabbage grow but was unsure when to pick them. The answer I found online: when the heads are hard. I immediately went out and harvested two. We’ve had a long rainy spell in Oregon so I was worried about the cabbage heads splitting. It looks like the biggest cabbage had just started to split so I picked it in the nick of time. The largest head was 6.5 lbs and the other head weighed 5.5 lbs.
The recipe I followed was for the Sweet Kraut found on page 187 of The Joy of Pickling. According to the author, the sauerkraut isn’t sweet, but it is milder in flavor than other krauts. After slicing 10 pounds of cabbage I am reminded again how much I want a mandolin slicer. Hopefully I didn’t mess the recipe up because chopping 10 lbs of cabbage into 1/16″ thick slices is bloody impossible for me. I don’t have ninja knife talents.
According to my book the sauerkraut will be done in 2 to 4 weeks if the temperature is around 70°F to 75° or 5 to 6 weeks if the temperature is around 60°. Oregon weather should be somewhere in the middle, unless we get a hot spell.