While making sauerkraut can be done using many different types of cabbage, it is commonly done with green cabbage.
Green cabbage is mostly inedible when raw, but it becomes much more palatable and nutritious when cooked or fermented.
When making sauerkraut, the first step is to cut up all the cabbage you intend on fermenting.
This can be done by hand using a knife or a food processor.
Shredding is crucial for sauerkraut to ferment properly.
In this article, we will take a closer look at how to cut cabbage for sauerkraut.
Can You Grate Cabbage for Sauerkraut?
Although it is possible to grate cabbage, it may not be the best options.
Grater blades mostly slice vegetables, which would leave the sauerkraut full of holes and uneven cuts.
Grating would also add too much water to the cabbage.
Spitting out the extra water is not a good idea because it could slow down fermentation and even cause mold to grow on top of your sauerkraut.
How to Shred Cabbage for Sauerkraut with a Knife?
A better way to shred cabbage for sauerkraut is with a knife.
Slice off the bottom of the head of cabbage and discard.
Locate the core and cut it out.
Lay the head of cabbage on its side and cut it into several pieces, keeping as much of the stem intact as possible.
Turn each cut piece of cabbage on its side and cut it into shreds, going with the grain of the leaves.
Once you have a pile of shredded cabbage, push it to one side and place a plate up against the shreds.
Then press down firmly on the plate until all your shredded cabbage is resting on the plate as one compact cake.
Slice this cake in half and then cut it up further, if necessary.
Can You Make Sauerkraut with a Food Processor?
If you would like to make sauerkraut with a food processor, keep in mind that this appliance is not designed for slicing and dicing.
Food processors excel at chopping and pureeing, but the results may vary when used as a cabbage shredder.
A cross-section of your shredded cabbage might look like matchsticks instead of long, thin threads.
This is not ideal for sauerkraut because the water needs to drain off quickly and easily throughout the fermentation process.
If you decide to make your sauerkraut with a food processor anyway, do it in several batches and use as little liquid as possible (just enough to cover the cabbage).
And keep in mind that this may affect the final product.
That being said, some newer models of food processors have a slicing and shredding option that might work just fine.
Can You Make Sauerkraut with a Mandolin?
While it is technically possible to use a mandolin to make sauerkraut, it may not be the best choice.
Mandolins are notorious for causing injuries because they are so sharp and easy to handle without much effort.
One slip of the hand while you’re trying to push down on your cabbage cake, could lead to serious damage.
If you decide to use a mandolin anyway, be extra careful and go slowly.
It is also best to work with smaller batches of cabbage while using a mandolin because larger batches can lead to thicker slices and more shredding than you need.
Also, only use the slice setting (not the shredded or julienne option), and make sure you move your hand away from the blade as soon as you finish pressing down on the cabbage.
All in all, it is much safer not to use any grater or food processor for shredding cabbage and stick to a knife.
Although it may take more time, the process will be much less complicated, and you’ll avoid any unnecessary risk of injury.
You can also make smaller batches at a time if you’re worried about the smell overwhelming your home.
It will also be easier to monitor the fermentation process with smaller batches of sauerkraut because you can peek into your jar more often, if necessary.
Cabbage is generally grated for coleslaw, not sauerkraut.
So if you don’t want to use your knife, opt for a cabbage shredder if it has a large enough opening to accommodate the shredded cabbage.
Or try your hand at using a mandolin (at your own risk).