Ok this is my final posting on Sauerkraut. I thought it necessary to update you on what I have learnt so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I have made. I think I now have the method just about foolproof.
The one thing you need to avoid at all costs is leaving the cut cabbage open to the atmosphere for more than 24hrs, or 12hrs in a hot climate.
It is therefore important to speed up the osmotic process as much as possible. This is done by not only sprinkling some fine sea salt on each layer (2.5 cm) of cut cabbage as you add it to the large container, but by compressing these layers with your fist. No need to over exert yourself though.
Finally, when the bucket is as full as you would like it, pour a litre of mildly saline water over the top. This immediately starts the process of osmosis so that within a few hours you should see the liquid from the cabbage rising to the surface to cover the whole mix.
I place a plate (with a diameter just smaller than that of the tub used) upside down over the mixture and then place a large vase of water on the top of it to add constant pressure. Then each time I enter the kitchen I press on this vase to compress the mix even further thus forcing more liquid to the surface to cover not only the cabbage but the plate itself.
I found that within a few hours enough moisture had been forced out of the cabbage to completely cover the cabbage.
Then it’s only a matter of waiting until the fermentation process has transformed your cabbage into beautiful, tasty and nutritious sauerkraut. In hot conditions it seems to take about 7 days.