Sauerkraut - What it is and how it’s made
Sauerkraut a German word which translates to “sour cabbage” is gaining popularity as an easy introduction into fermentation of food. Long ago it was used as a way to store food over the winter months. It’s not a pickled vegetable and does not contain any vinegar. It’s made by lactic fermentation process which enhances the micronutrient profile and enables your body to absorb more nutrients from the food eaten.
During the fermentation process probiotics are produced - which is one of the main benefits of consuming this food source. Along with the probiotic properties and a range of other gut health benefits like reduced bloating and strengthening of the immune system.
It’s extremely simple to make, and consists of only three ingredients - cabbage, salt and caraway seeds. (I couldn't find caraway seeds so mine is just the first two ingredients). Have a look at my recipe at the bottom of the blog for the method.
Depending on the amount you want to make - I had a large glass Mason jar and a whole head of cabbage sitting in the fridge so decided to make a big batch.
- Cabbage - 2kgs
- Rock salt - 3tbsp
- Caraway seeds - 1tsp
- Thinly slice the cabbage and add to a clean bowl. Massage in the salt for 5minutes. During this process the cabbage will soften and release liquid. Let it rest for 5 minutes before massaging it again.
- Mix in the caraway seeds
- Press the cabbage into a clean Mason jar, compressing it as much as possible. Pour in any liquid brine on top.
- Full a smaller glass jar with marbles or something heavy and place on top of the cabbage to keep it weighed down.
- Cover the jar tightly with a clean cloth to keep any bugs out and allow air flow.
- Fermentation can take anywhere from 3days - several weeks. Bubbles will start to form as it ferments. If any scum forms remove it - and clean the jar that was weighing it down the cabbage.
- If not enough liquid brine is being produced - add some salt and water.
- The longer you leave it the sourer it will get. So taste often!
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
As the cabbage ferments it will produce more liquid so make sure you have the Mason jar sitting on a plate in case it over flows. There is a possibility of mold growing on the surface, but this if it does happen scoop it off. The sauerkraut that is under the water should still be fine. That being said - always use your own judgement - if it doesn't look right - don't risk it. Use a food processor to get thinner more even slices of cabbage.
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