In July-August of 1997, we made 75 lbs. (36 qts.) of Sauerkraut. The following describes the process:
Begin by washing the cabbage heads. Choose firm, tightly packed heads.
Shred cabbage relatively fine, and for every 5 lbs. worth, add 1 handful of salt. Mix salt and cabbage thoroughly, then transfer to crock.
Mash down firmly with potato masher, and prepare additional cabbage in 5lbs. increments in the same manner.
Leave 6"-8" free at the top of the crock to allow for curing.
Place a plate, or other non-metallic diaphragm on top of the cabbage and secure in place with weights (we place stones in a plastic container with a lid). The plate should allow the resulting liquid to rise to the surface, but keep the cabbage immersed.
Cover the crock with a damp towel or other covering to keep bugs out.
The cabbage will take a week to begin noticeable curing. For best results, mix the cabbage every few days, otherwise, the top 2"-3" will have an off-flavor.
The kraut can remain in the crock for as long as three weeks. Total time is dependant on how strong you want it to be. At the end of the curing period, the kraut can be frozen or canned using the hot water bath method. Wide-mouth jars work best.
Quantity of liquid in the crock will vary as curing progresses. When canning, be sure to leave about 3/4" at the top of the jar since it will expand during heating.