Simple Sauerkraut Recipe
Making homemade sauerkraut is easy
The way I make sauerkraut is very simple really and needs only a few ingredients aside from your cabbage. It’s ready in 2-3 weeks but can be left for much longer, especially if it’s refrigerated. It’s also a very flexible recipe so you can make it with what you already have at home.
Makes 2 pints
- 1 medium cabbage (or half of a really big one)
- 1.5 Tbsp Sea Salt
- 6 Shallots (or small onions), finely sliced
- 1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
Optional spices and veggies – Carrots, dill, caraway and coriander seeds
You’ll also need a glass jar with lid or any other non-metallic tall crock/pot
Step 1: Shred the cabbage
Shred your cabbage and put it into a large bowl with the sea salt. Then take the end of your rolling pin or other non-breakable blunt object and bash the cabbage up a bit. The idea is to break down some of the fibers and allow the salt to penetrate more fully. Cover your bowl with a kitchen towel and leave over night.
Step 2: Layer the Ingredients
The next day, have a look at your cabbage. It should be slightly wilted and the bowl should be filled with quite a bit of liquid. Using your freshly cleaned hands, layer first a bit of the whole spices into your glass or ceramic jar/crock, then a layer of shallots then a layer of cabbage. Bash down with your fist and repeat until all your ingredients are in the jar.
Next pour over the remaining cabbage juice and place a barrier layer on top. This barrier could be an uncut and clean cabbage leaf, a plate, a linen cloth or even wax-paper which I’ve used this time.
Step 3: Adding a weight
Now you’ll need a weight – this is also a flexible item and can be anything heavy, such as a cleaned rock, or something that will press against the lid of the jar when its closed to help push the cabbage down to under the juice level.
Fermentation is an anaerobic (oxygen-free) process and your ingredients need to be under the juice level at all times. The barrier will help keep bits from floating up but the weight makes sure the barrier doesn’t float up either.
Step 4: Fermentation
Close the jar up either with its attached lid (without the rubber ring) or even a loose fitting lid or plate. You want it fairly closed but not completely sealed so that gases can escape.
Leave it in a cool dark cupboard for at least 2-3 weeks for crunchy summer sauerkraut or for more of a traditional texture leave it for a month or more. Check it every few days and if any scum or mould starts growing, clean it off the top of the liquid and discard it. As long as your cabbage, onions and other ingredients are below the liquid’s surface they’re perfectly safe.
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