|Category||Fermented food recipes|
|Time||prep: 45 minutes|
ferment: at least 1 week
Sauerkraut is a traditional fermented vegetable food made from cabbage. This is a basic recipe that produces a tangy sauerkraut with live bacteria. No cooking is required.
- Clean and dry a large (3 litre) preserves jar or crock, chopping board, and large bowls if needed
- Quarter the cabbage and remove the core
- Slice the cabbage finely or thickly, as you prefer
- Optional: bruise the sliced cabbage by beating with a rolling pin or mortar and pestle
- Layer the cabbage in the jar or crock, sprinkling salt in between layers
- Pack tightly into the jar, leaving 1cm space at the top; don't seal the jar yet
- Juice should rise to top of jar as you tightly pack the cabbage in; if not, add a little chlorine-free water
Don't seal the jar while it is fermenting, as it will build up gas pressure and might break the jar. Just cover with a cloth, or cling-wrap. Set the jar in a bowl or on a plate, so that any juice that might overflow will be collected and won't make a mess.
Every morning and every evening insert a narrow long object into the jar to let the air out, then collect the juice from the plate and re-add it to the jar. Also please ensure the temperature is kept constant during the fermentation as otherwise the fermentation may not complete correctly and wrong bacteria may form. This is an irreversible process. If you don't heat your kitchen in winter then you will need to store the jar in your bedroom or another area with a steadier temperature throughout the day and night.
The sauerkraut will be fermented in three days to about a week. Wipe any excess liquid from around the jar, and put the lid on tightly before moving it to a cool place (e.g. the refrigerator) to mature. It is ready to eat after the first week, but will improve with age and as the bacteria slowly consume the more complex sugars in the cabbage.
Notes, tips, and variations
- The salt used should be non-iodised salt if possible - e.g. pickling salt, kosher salt. This is because the iodine in iodised table salt will inhibit the fermentation a little. Use what you've got, but best results will be obtained without the iodine.
- Add other vegetables, fruits, or spices for variations, e.g.
- The cabbage can be quickly sliced to a regular thickness by using a mandoline.