Making Sauerkraut is very easy and so rewarding! Made from cabbage and salt, together, they make an excellent tasting flavour addition to your diet, which is also good for your gut. I'm going to include some of my favourite additions you can make to give it an extra twist.
I've given an exact weight of cabbage here with the salt calculated out as not all of us have access to small scales. I've included the percentage salt required if you do. 800g cabbage is also the ideal amount to fit into a 1L wide-mouthed mason (agee) jar.
800g fresh firm cabbage, red or green
20 g sea salt (2.5%)
1L jar, weight, and lid*
- Reserve some outer leaves of cabbage for a follower**.
- Shred cabbage finely into a large bowl.
- Sprinkle salt over and mix briefly. Let sit for around 1 hour or as time allows. The longer the cabbage and salt mixture sits the more liquid is drawn out, lessening the massage/poundering time. The cabbage in the photo had a huge amount of liquid. Depending on the cabbage and the season you will get very little (and need to pound longer) or a lot (and need to pound less)
4. Massage with hands or pounder until liquid is present when a handful of cabbage is squeezed. (Add additional flavours here if using).
5. Pack jar, pressing down very firmly, so cabbage is under the liquid.
6. Leave 2-3cm headroom. Apply follower and weight, not essential but very helpful. Wipe away any vegetable bits sticking to the jar in the headroom space, this will discourage moulding of any fragments that are exposed to air not below brine level.
7. Add a lid and sit in a tray to catch any drips.
8. Put in a cool spot in your house away from direct sunlight for 1-2 weeks (Ideal temperature is between 18-22 degrees celsius). You will start to see bubbles appearing and moving to the surface. The mixture will become bubbly, possibly frothy, at the surface, then slow and dissipate as the fermentation slows down. You can try your ferment after this time to decide whether to leave it out, further the flavour or to store in the fridge.
Once the ferment is complete, remove weight and follower and replace ferment lid with a solid lid, if using. Move to the fridge to continue a slower fermentation and flavour development. It will be OK to consume now, but after another 2-3 weeks, it will be amazing!
- My all-time favourite and a standard in my fridge is Caraway Kraut - add one teaspoon caraway seeds.
- Another lovely one is the addition of 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
- I also like to add whole chilies - just stuff a couple down the side of the jar as you pack it.
- Add Juniper Berries
- Add Cumin Seeds
- Add garlic, ginger, or fresh woody herbs such as thyme.
*We recommend you get a nifty little fermenting lid from us to prevent mold from forming and also to allow gas to escape. We do lovely glass fermentation weights to hold the cabbage under the surface of the brine.
However, if all you have is a jar with a well-fitting lid, screw the lid on till it meets but do not tighten.
**What is a follower? A follower is used where vegetables are finely shredded and float up past the weight. In this case, you can use a cabbage leaf to keep the shredded cabbage from floating up. Ensure the leaf is well tucked in and under the surface of the brine to prevent mold from forming .In the jar, you will have the shredded cabbage, then the cabbage leaf pressed on top, then a weight to keep it all down and then the lid.