Sauerkraut

sauerkrautHomemade sauerkraut is a real treat.  It is not only packed with the natural nutrients of the cabbage, but also with all the added nutrients that are created as part of the fermentation process, and the beneficial bacteria themselves which are great for your digestive system.

It tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff, and with none of the nasty short-cuts and additives that are in many commercial products.  

The recipe itself is very simple - cabbage plus salt.  That's it, then you just let nature do its work.

I also just like the idea of making it, and understanding how it all works - it's a bit like a science experiment - that you eat.

Making Sauerkraut

It's all pretty easy and you probably have most of the things you need, except something to put it in.  You need something like a very large jar (like in the picture), or preferably a similarly sized ceramic crock (I hope I find one some day).

For a medium size cabbage you use about 2.5 Tablespoons of uniodised salt - DON'T use iodised salt - It WILL kill the beneficial bacteria.  If you like you can also add some caraway seeds (to taste).

Keep one of the outside leaves as you will use part of it later.

Cut the cabbage up finely, one quarter at a time.  Once a quarter is done place it in a large dish with 1/4 of the salt, and rub the salt in.  Let it sit while you cut the next quarter.  Once that is done, take handfuls of the cut cabbage with salt and press them down into your container.

Then salt the next quarter (which is already cut), and so on.

Rubbing the salt in and then allowing it to rest for a while helps start the process of drawing out the water, which in turn will help the fermentation get under way.

Once you have finished packing the jar, you should cut a circle of about the same size as the jar from the leaf you kept.  Place this on top of the cut cabbage, and press down with a weight (a smaller sealed jar filled with water works well).  Cover with a cloth (e.g. tea-towel) and place a rubber-band around it to keep it reasonably tight.  DO NOT put a lid on the jar, as that would prevent the proper fermentation.

Place in a cool dark place (e.g. cupboard).

Once a day or so, press down on the weight to release bubbles.  You should see bubbles (of CO2) coming up from your sauerkraut when you do this.

Fermentation take one to three weeks depending on how fermented you want the sauerkraut, and also depends on temperature and other local conditions.

Enjoy!