When life gives you cabbage – make Sauerkraut! Homemade Sauerkraut is a world apart from the stuff that comes from the grocery store. It’s crunchy and delightfully sour.
Most curious fermentation DIY-ers will often start with Sauerkraut. And with good reason. It’s beyond easy to make, it requires no special equipment + the results are dependably delicious.
It quite literally is combining shredded cabbage with some salt + packing it into a jar. Now you can go + purchase a fermentation crock if you want but honestly not necessary.
When you are mushing the cabbage + the salt together, the cabbage releases liquid, creating its own brining solution. It is being submerged in this liquid that allwos the cabbage to slowly ferment into the crunchy, sour condiment we know + love as sauerkraut.
This process to which cabbage becomes sauerkraut is through lacto-fermentation.
Now before all my lactose + dairy intolerant people get put off by the term “lacto’ thinking that this is from milk, take heed. The lacto actually refers to lactic acid. The naturally occurring bacteria on fruits and vegetables is called lactobacillus. When they’re placed in an oxygen free environment – like a salt water mix – the bacteria convert sugar into lactic acid which is what gives fermented foods their characteristic tangy/sour flavor.
Don’t worry about needing a special crock. You literally just need a jar with a lid. I like to save a variety of different sized jars when I have finished them so I have a selection at my disposal.
Other than that a knife, chopping board, a bowl + some muscle.
It’s important that the cabbage remain submerged in its liquid during fermentation. You will see in the instrusctions below how to do this. This is because if the cabbage is not submerged you may find mold growing on the surface of the sauerkraut, but don’t panic! The sauerkraut is still fine (it’s still preserved by the lactic acid) — you can scoop off the mold + proceed with fermentation.
Sauerkraut is amazing added to pretty much any savoury dish. I love it on a salad or with my eggs! Just remember don’t heat it. It is bacteria + this will cause it to loose some of its gut loving goodness. If you would like to try fermenting other veggies head here.
What Do I Need?
- 1 medium head of Green Cabbage
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Sea Salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Caraway Seeds
Let’s Do This!
1. Slice the cabbage. Remove but don’t discard the outer leaves. Cut into quarters + trim out the core. Slice crosswise into very thin ribbons.
2. Place the cabbage into a big bowl + sprinkle the salt over the top.
3. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging + squeezing the cabbage with your hands. Gradually the cabbage will become watery + limp. This will take 5 to 10 minutes.
4. If you want to flavour your sauerkraut add in the caraway seeds now.
5. Grab handfuls of the cabbage + press them into a jar, pressing down with your fist as you go. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage into the jar.
6. Screw up the outer leaves of the cabbage + push onto the top of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in it’s liquid. If the liquid has not risen above the sliced cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water + add enough to submerge the cabbage.
7. Pop the lid on + ferment the cabbage at room temperature for 3-10 days, away from direct sunlight.
NOTE: Bubbles, foam or white scum on the top are all signs of happy fermenting. The white scum can be skimmed off as you see it or before refrigerating the sauerkraut.
This will keep for 2 months, sometimes longer if refrigerated. As long as it still smells + tastes good it will be.