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I'm growing cabbages in my garden this year and would like to make lots of sauerkraut, to eat and to give as gifts. Gallons of it.

Is there an efficient way to slice or shred a dozen cabbages at a time? Using a grater for that much cabbage is going to destroy my arms.

I would buy a one-purpose gadget or an attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer that didn't cost more than ~$60 if that's the right way to proceed.

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    Wow, I tried to find the tool to do that but it seems English don't even have a word for it. It looks like this olx.pl/oferta/… this one is electric and cost around $250. maybe if you look on craigslist or ask some local maker they could make a handcranked one for less. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jul 30 '19 at 7:46
  • I wonder if you could come to some kind of arrangement with a local Polish deli? – Strawberry Jul 30 '19 at 8:52
  • youtube.com/watch?v=vWGquxvqI_Y&t=532 But also, no, I have no actually useful ideas. – Erhannis Jul 31 '19 at 0:37
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    I've used an electric knife before for this kind of job, but you have to be sure it's powerful enough. Some made for bread just won't cut it in the long run. – pritaeas Jul 31 '19 at 8:48
  • Here's how they do it at the sauerkraut factory: youtube.com/watch?v=n53a4iSvgyk. Looks like about 2 seconds per head of cabbage on that shredding machine! Here's another 5000 kg/hour! – Digital Trauma Aug 2 '19 at 0:24
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There is a kraut cutter, a wooden board about 2 ft long with a diagonal blade. We used all the time when I was a child. We laid it on a large pot. You cut heads of cabbage in half and push it over the blade flat side down. Try google or an old fashioned hard ware.

kraut cutter

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    They are still made today, like oversized food graters. The truly large ones are not hand-held, but one end goes on the edge of the „bowl“ (washtub!), the other on the lap of the cook. – Stephie Jul 30 '19 at 6:53
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    so basically a large mandoline? – jk. Jul 30 '19 at 11:45
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    Washtub or even a bathtub lined with a fresh white sheet! – Marek Grzenkowicz Jul 30 '19 at 20:45
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    In Poland you can easily buy them online, example offers: allegro.pl/listing?string=Szatkownica%20drewniana – Marek Grzenkowicz Jul 30 '19 at 20:52
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    @jk. : a large mandoline with multiple blades (three seems to be the norm) – Joe Jul 31 '19 at 15:48
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You can be more efficient with a knife than any sort of kitchen aid attachment, which will require lots of prep, and slow going. A better bet for home use would be the shredder on a food processor. However, even then, while it will make quick work of shredding, you will have to cut the cabbage into smaller portions to fit into the processor...and, of course, empty the bowl relatively quickly. Anything more efficient than that will cost you a few hundred bucks. Maybe your best bet is some friends and sharp knives.

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    Far less effort with a knife than a grater too. 1-2 mins per cabbage, call it 3 if you're out of practise; max an hour for a dozen, on your own... or Robot Coupe do a nice one for a mere 4 grand ;) – Tetsujin Jul 30 '19 at 8:07
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    This answer sounds like dogma to me. – Pieter B Jul 30 '19 at 12:15
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    @PieterB - Dogma it may be.. but that doesn't stop it actually being a lot quicker to chop a cabbage ready for kraut or slaw by hand than to chunk it & run it through a food processor or a domestic mandoline. – Tetsujin Jul 30 '19 at 15:24
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    @Tetsujin 1-2 minutes per cabbage seems a lot longer than it would take to chunk a cabbage into the size required for a food processor. – JimmyJames Jul 30 '19 at 18:30
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    "Anything more efficient " - counter example from user76771 above (a handtool specifically for the task). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jul 31 '19 at 5:38
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Haha, we were doing that every fall in my childhood in Siberia. We used an enamelled bucket and "sechka" https://65.img.avito.st/640x480/4526427565.jpg Splice a head of cabbage in big pieces with a knife, put them into the bucket until it is full, then smash it all with sechka. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ1HR9o4JGc - that guy is using another kind of sechka, but the principle is the same. I was able to fill about 30 three-liter jars in a couple of days being a kid so that' s very effective way to deal with a cabbage (not speaking of using any kind of machine).

The device costs around $10-20 in Russia, I don't know if you will be able to find and buy it in your location though. At least now you know what to look for.

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Do you have a food processor? Most food processors come with interchangeable blades including a blade for shredding. Put the shredder blade in, lock on the lid, cut the cabbage into wedges that will fit in the feed tube, power on, and feed in the cabbage. You may have to empty the work bowl a couple times, depending on how much cabbage, but it's the fastest way I know of.

  • My food processor doesn't send the shreds to the built-in bowl. The shredding attachment has a shoot on the side where they shredded food comes out. – JimmyJames Jul 31 '19 at 18:11
  • @JimmyJames I feel like that is a terrifying design flaw – panatale1 Aug 1 '19 at 19:55
  • In what way? It's great. – JimmyJames Aug 1 '19 at 20:01
  • As a clumsy person, I know for a fact that i'd end up moving the bowl it's supposed to shoot into and have to clean up shredded cabbage off the floor – panatale1 Aug 2 '19 at 13:08
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Knife, shmife. You need a mulcher!

mulcher It is a $54 blower / mulcher from Home Depot. Get a new one so it will be cleanish. Quarter your cabbages then suck them up. Your bag will fill with cole slaw-to-be. Maybe wash it and set it aside for next year?

These things are merciless. They will chop your cabbages fine. Even if you use an old one and clean it first, the good thing about cabbage is that the pickling conditions naturally kill any bad germs. You can make sauerkraut by lining a ditch with hay, putting in the cabbages, then more hay, then covering it up. This is cleaner than that.

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    I really want this to work but it seems like there is a risk of machine oil contamination. – Sobachatina Jul 31 '19 at 21:34
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    You need to purchase the Teflon® coated receiver bag, too, or the cabbage juice leaks out all over the place. – IconDaemon Aug 1 '19 at 0:42
  • @IconDaemon or a cheap bucket. – Rich Aug 1 '19 at 1:01
  • @Willk Lol at the worldbuilding answer on Seasoned Advice. – kingledion Aug 1 '19 at 17:44
  • @Sobachatina could still market that as mediocre Achar ;) (don't :) ). – rackandboneman Aug 1 '19 at 22:46
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You mentioned a Kitchenaid stand mixer attachment. Kitchenaid used to make a shredder/slicer attachment that's very good for this usage. It had a wide hopper that could hold a quarter of a cabbage at once.

Unfortunately, the newer edition of this attachment has a smaller hopper and isn't suitable for cabbage, but the older style is still available from third party sellers.

Here's one example. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Kitchenaid-RVSA-Rotor-Slicer-Shredder-Cones-Stand-Mixer-Attachment-New/163792960617

I'm good with a knife, and I sometimes use this for a single head of cabbage. It's definitely faster than hand slicing for anything more than two or three heads, even with setup and cleaning time. It also produces a very consistent cut.

It's definitely still going to require cutting up the cabbage heads first, and won't be as fast as some of the more expensive options, but it's an affordable alternative to the professional grade options.

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