Penny’s (Sauer­kraut) Kraut-Chi

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Food -

At its ba­sic sauer­kraut is chopped or shred­ded cab­bage that is salted and fer­mented in its own juice. It has ex­isted in one form or an­other for thou­sands of years and sailors have car­ried it on ships to ward off scurvy be­cause of its high Vi­ta­min C con­tent. The ba­sic recipe for sauer­kraut is 2 tsp of Mal­don sea salt to 450g (1lb) of cab­bage. Any other veg­eta­bles in sea­son can be added once they are finely sliced or chopped. Avoid po­ta­toes as they can be­come toxic when fer­mented. Weigh the veg­eta­bles af­ter slic­ing and cal­cu­late the amount of salt needed. Be­low is a recipe we en­joy.

Makes 1 litre/900g (2lbs) ap­prox­i­mately

500g (18oz) or­ganic cab­bage — red, green or a mix­ture, finely sliced 150g (5oz) onion, finely sliced 2 green pep­pers, finely sliced 150g (5oz) car­rots, grated on a coarse grater 1 chilli, finely chopped 4 tea­spoons Mal­don (or sim­i­lar) Sea salt

Equip­ment

1 x 1.5 litre (2½ pints) Kil­ner jar or crock

Mix all the in­gre­di­ents to­gether in a large bowl. Pack into a large jar or crock. Pack a lit­tle at a time and press down hard us­ing your fists, this packs the kraut tight and helps force wa­ter out of the veg­eta­bles.

Cover the kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly in­side the jar or crock. Place a clean weight on top (a jug or con­tainer filled with wa­ter works well). This weight is to force wa­ter out of the veg­eta­bles and keep them sub­merged un­der the brine. Cover the top with muslin or a light cloth to keep out flies and dust. Press down on the weight ever few hours to help ex­tract more liq­uid from the veg­eta­bles. The liq­uid should rise above the veg­eta­bles. If the liq­uid doesn’t rise above the plate level by next day, add some salt wa­ter (a ba­sic brine is 2 tea­spoons of salt mixed in 600ml/1 pint of wa­ter) to bring the level above the plate.

Place in a cool area and al­low to fer­ment for 4-5 days. At this stage the kraut is ready to eat. As you eat the kraut make sure the re­main­der is well cov­ered in brine by push­ing the veg­eta­bles un­der the brine and seal­ing well. It will keep for months, the flavour de­vel­ops and ma­tures over time.

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