How to Make Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is a great introduction into the world of fermented foods because it’s just so simple to make!
The lacto-fermentation process produces a bacteria called lactobacillus which helps your immune system and digestive health while also helping to remove toxins from the body. A perfect ambassador for nourishing food I'd say!
I would always recommend making your own sauerkraut as the shop brought varieties are often pasturised which kills off the health promoting bacteria which really defeats the object.
Sauerkrauts sour taste with crunchy texture makes it a perfect side dish to more fatty meals
1 white cabbage
1 tablespoon of sea salt
Glass jar 750g
Step 1 slice and dice
Finley chop the cabbage and put it into a mixing bowl with the salt. You can chop it with a kitchen knife or run it through a Magi Mix.
Step 2 crush that cabbage
Massage, squeeze and press the cabbage with your hands to break it up. By breaking down the cell walls of the cabbage it releases the juice which will mix with the salt and act as a brine to help the fermentation process.
Step 3 pack it
Once you have broken the cabbage down and it's sat in some of its brine you can start to pack it into the jar.
I use an old glass jar to store mine. You need to avoid metal containers as the salts and acids will corrode it. Also avoid plastic as it will leak chemicals into the sauerkraut during the fermentation process. To prepare the glass jar I’ll pour boiling water into it before packing the sauerkraut as this will sterilize the jar helping to prevent bad bacteria and mold developing.
You need to pack the sauerkraut down tight and I find a mortar is the best tool for the job. My tip is to just pack a bit in at a time otherwise it gets messy with the juice. You always want to make sure that the cabbage is completely submerged below the juice to help fermentation. You may notice that there is a soapy looking residue with bubbles in the brine. This is fine and it’s perfectly safe to drink. By submerging the cabbage in the brine the bacteria begins to convert the natural cabbage sugars into lactic acid. This is a natural preservative which stops the growth of harmful bacteria.
Step 4 sit and wait
The sauerkraut will be ready to eat in about 4 days but its best when left over a month and can be kept for over three months. It gets softer when left to ferment overtime as it continues to break down. Ideally keep it stored at around 10-15 degrees celsius as you may get a moldy build up if it’s too warm. On the flip side if its left in a place which is to cool the bacteria wont develop which is of course why we store food in the fridge. Just use your common sense as if it has gone bad you will know it. It will smell off and have gone brown.
You may need to release the pressure in the jar that will build up over time. I tend to check it once a day for the first week by opening the jar. It will often sound like you have opened a fizzy bottle of drink. If I need to I will then pack it down again so that it’s covered by the brine. The fermentation works best in an anaerobic environment so you don’t want it exposed to the oxygen to often.
Enjoy and welcome to the world of fermented foods!