Select a firm head of cabbage weighing at least over 10 pounds. Peel off and discard the wilted and discolored or spotted outer leaves. As bacteria from these could result in spoilage of your fermentation.
Wash and drain the cabbage. Remove the stalk ( heat) portion. Shed very finely. In a large glass work bowl toss the cabbage with 1/2 of the salt. Allow to sit for 1/2 hours while you scald your fermentation crock ( BTW: the insert of a 3 1/2 quart Rival Crockpot works perfectly.)
Toss the cabbage once more in the salt-liquor that forms and prepare to stuff the crock. Place a 1 inche layer in the crock and pack it down. Sprinkle some of the remaining salt over it. Repeat until all the cabbage is packed into the crock. Add maybe 6 black peppercorns, the horseradish ( don't use perpared horseradish or creamy horseradish sauce; use only the grated stuff that is fresh). and the last of the salt on the top layer.
Place a clean light on top of the cabbage to keep it pressed down. The idea is to keep the cabbage below the level of the liquid that will be pulled out of the cabbage by the salt.
Cover with a cheesecloth or something. ( If, using your crockpot, just put the cover on it. I swear, it's worth buying to pot just to make your own sauerkraut in.) Leave on the countertop and allow to ferment naturally. Three or four times a day press the saucer down you should be able to see bubles escape. Don't use your hands for this at all. If, you see bubbles escape this is a good sign that your fermentation is proceeding properly. This will do on for some 5 to 10 days and then the production of gas will decline markedly. This means your fermentation is ready to slow down.
Put the crock in the fridge. The ' Kraut can now be eaten. It's young and the fermentation is still active, so consider it to be like non pasteurized beer ( with respect to your digestive system). Early-pulled stuff may not agree with you so you may want to steam or saute or otherwise deactivate the yeast by cooking.
The kraut will contuine to develop a stronger flavor with time. As you remove the kraut for use always be sure to use clean tongs or sponts. If ever the kraut takes on a slimy feel or musty or off taste or odor. As this is a good sign that some kind of bacteria is growing in there.
Note : The horseradish is optional, but it gives a nice bite to the finished product. The finished product should be white to a pale cream color, with a clean, bright flavor.
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