Wow! I’m amazed by how delicious homemade sauerkraut is! I thought that perhaps the fermentation process would be a little off-putting, and I’m glad that many people are actually starting to embrace this way of preserving now. A wee word of warning though: If you’re suffering from Irritable bowel, cabbage is high in FODMAPs, therefore it is not advised if you are struggling to control your symptoms!
If you’re like me, you buy a whole cabbage for a super-cheap price, use half and then more than often it ends up getting slightly wilty hanging around the veggie draw in the fridge. After a while when you have that ‘lightbulb’ moment one evening to make a ‘scraps from the fridge’ quiche or stirfry, that cabbage finally gets another chance!
I’ve decided that its worthwhile getting involved with the hefty cabbage. Its pretty delicious steamed in blocks with a few juniper berries and herbs in the steaming water, then drizzled with a nice olive oil or butter and sprinkled with a touch of salt & pepper. Equally delicious is raw cabbage wedges, dipped into wasabi or miso mayonnaise. Or massage whole leaves with a little salt to soften, rinse & use to make healthy wraps full with veges and all sorts of goodies. Getting hungry now!
Anyhoo, I thought I’d share this nice sauerkraut recipe. I love making my own because it is more crunchy than canned varieties. You can leave it to ferment for as little as 3 days, and as long as 2 weeks. It really depends on how much sour flavour you like. Pair it with a nice German sausage in a hot dog or with some potatoes tossed in herbs. For the less-fermented kraut, this is superb in salads to lend a bit of crunch and amazing colour & flavour.
1 head red cabbage
2 tsp sea salt (not iodised)
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 cm knob fresh ginger, finely grated
- Shred the cabbage as thinly as possible. The thinner you slice it, the softer it will become when massaged with the salt. Place the cabbage in a large bowl or pot (as photo above)
- Add the salt and massage into the cabbage for about 10 minutes using clean hands so that the salt crystals begin to dissolve.
- Leave to marinate for 10 minutes, then return & continue to massage until the mixture becomes nice and juicy. Depending on how big the salt crystals are, you may need to massage & rest the mixture several times. You want it to be nice and juicy to allow the cabbage to soften.
- Add the caraway & fennel seeds. Combine well. (Ginger gets added at step 10 as it can prevent/delay the fermentation process)
- Prepare a clean, large glass jar (I used a large gherkin jar) by boiling water and filling to the brim. Leave to stand until the water cools back to a warm temperature and then tip out. This acts to sterilise the jar from any nasty bacteria that may have been present.
- Pack the sauerkraut & liquid into the jar, pressing down firmly so that the liquid brims to the surface.
- Next, you need to prepare a weight for the top of the kraut, to ensure it is packed down firmly and the liquid can cover the kraut for the fermentation process to be even. I chose a small jar or sealable bag which fits in the opening of the large jar. Fill with water to act as a weight. Sit on top of the sauerkraut and seal around any opening with plastic wrap or a bag to keep fruit flies out!
- Place the jar on a windowsill or space in your house out of direct sunlight. It does not necessarily need to be in the dark.
- Allow to ferment for 3-15 days. After 3 days you will be able to smell the souring aroma. How far you ferment is up to you!
- When you’ve fermented the kraut enough, stir through the grated ginger and pack into smaller jars and pop into the fridge. It will keep for months! (If you don’t end up devouring it all before that 😉 )