So, there are loads of tasty sweet treats around for all those celebrations. Here’s something to bring a little balance. This recipe won’t be ready for at least 4 weeks though, so in the meantime you can buy good quality sauerkraut at your local health food shop – make sure it’s unpasteurised though, otherwise the valuable probiotics will have been destroyed. Once you’ve done this recipe once, it’s possible to have a constant supply, so long as you replenish your stocks whilst still consuming what’s ready.
1 red or white cabbage
2 tbsps sea salt
1 tbsp caraway seeds or juniper berries (optional)
Also needed are sterile jars with plastic-lined lids. (Clean the jars in warm soapy water, rinse and dry. Place them upright on a tray in a cold oven. Turn oven to about 130°C/Gas Mark 1/2 or 250°F for about 10-15 mins. Remove and LET COOL before filling with sauerkraut. Sterilise the lids by putting them in a heatproof bowl or jug, pour in boiling water and leave to stand for about 30 mins.)
Shred or grate the cabbage. I use my food processor for this. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the sea salt. Add optional seeds or berries. Mix well. Spoon into COLD sterile jars, press down, but leave a space at the top of about 2.5cm. Add filtered water so that the cabbage is completely covered, but there is still at least 2cm left at the top of the jar. (I once filled my jars too full and woke up one morning to purple striped walls in my kitchen as the juices had bubbled out of the (sealed) jars and dribbled from the shelf to the counter-top! Fortunately this was a week or so before work started on my new kitchen!
Label the jars – contents and date. Leave them in a warm place to ferment for several weeks. After about 4 weeks open one and have a taste. If you like it, start to enjoy a little sauerkraut with any meals you fancy. If you don’t like it, leave it for a couple more weeks before testing again.
When I first started doing this I was unsure about what was good and not good, but I got more confident as I progressed. I’ve had some failures, but not many and it’s most often down to not following sterilising instructions fully. If it’s got a vibrant colour, is crisp and tastes good then it’s a success. If the colour is dull and it feels and looks mushy, then it’s probably best to skip the taste test and compost it! Ditto if you find mould. Happy fermenting!