If you are venturing into making your own naturally fermented sauerkraut, keep in mind these tips.
Use a variety of cabbages. Cabbage is a healthy vegetable and it turns out that the many different varieties of cabbage provide us with different micro-nutrients and antioxidants. In addition to the common green cabbage, try Chinese or savory cabbage. You can even add red cabbage to turn your sauerkraut pink.
Use a good salt. Sea salts are exceptional in flavor compared to traditional table salt. A naturally fermented sauerkraut is the perfect time to take advantage of the distinct flavor of sea salt.
Pound your cabbage. After layering your cabbage and salt, pound it and pound it some more. Pounding will help release the juices in the cabbage which will combine with the salt to make a brine.
For a crispier kraut, chop by hand. Larger pieces of cabbage will have a more crisp texture at the end of the fermentation process. Cabbage sliced in a food processor will have a more smooth texture.
Add fruit and vegetables. Apple slices, garlic, and onion are a classic addition to sauerkraut, but experiment with other seasonal options as you have them on hand.
Use a well-fitted weight. After pounding your cabbage, you will weight it down with a plate or stone weight. Find one that is well-fitting so that cabbage does not float to the top where it can mold. A pickle crock with its open top makes it easier to find a well-fitted plate. Actual sauerkraut crocks will come with properly fitting weights.
Consider an airlock. For best results, you do not want fresh air getting into your sauerkraut, but you do want the gasses to be able to escape. An airlock is a solution. You can buy an airlock fastened to a lid that fits a wide-mouth canning jar or you can buy a sauerkraut crock with an airlock feature designed into the pottery itself.
Taste liberally and wait. Part of the fun of making sauerkraut is tasting it along the way to see how it changes. You will learn in the process how you enjoy it most. When it hits that point, that is when it is ready. You can stop that fermentation process then by placing it in the refrigerator until it has been eaten or you can allow it to continue fermenting on your counter top and experience more of its phases.