Home­made sauer­kraut

Nadia - - FAST & FRESH -

Ready in 30 min­utes plus 4-12 days of fer­men­ta­tion | Makes about 2 litres | DF | GF

While there are lots of great brands of sauer­kraut that you can buy, it’s also easy, fun and cost-ef­fec­tive to make it your­self. Sauer­kraut is made us­ing a process called lacto-fer­men­ta­tion. In a nut­shell, Lac­to­bacil­lus is one of the ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria present in cab­bage, and when sub­merged in liq­uid it be­gins con­vert­ing sug­ars in the cab­bage into lac­tic acid, which is a nat­u­ral preser­va­tive (it also im­parts a lovely tangy taste, like in yo­ghurt). The most im­por­tant thing with mak­ing sauer­kraut is to en­sure the cab­bage is al­ways sub­merged in liq­uid (af­ter the first 24 hours) as this will en­sure good fer­men­ta­tion.

YOU’LL NEED

1 small (about 1kg) cab­bage (green, red or a mix­ture of both) 1½ Tbsp salt 2 tsp car­away seeds (op­tional) 2 large glass jars (about 1 litre each), make sure they’re nice and clean Weights to weigh cab­bage down (eg clean stones or small jars of peb­bles or mar­bles)

1 Pre­pare the cab­bage by re­mov­ing a cou­ple of its outer leaves (re­serve th­ese for later). Then cut the cab­bage into quar­ters and cut out the tough in­ner core from each piece. Use a large sharp knife to very finely shred/slice the cab­bage (or you can use a man­do­line).

2 Place cab­bage in a large bowl. Sprin­kle over the salt and car­away seeds. Then, us­ing clean bare hands, toss the cab­bage with the salt and seeds, mas­sag­ing it gen­tly so that the salt and car­away seeds are evenly dis­trib­uted through the cab­bage. Leave for 10 min­utes – by this time the cab­bage will have started to soften a lit­tle and re­lease some of its juices.

3 Once you see some of the cab­bage juice col­lect­ing in the bot­tom of the bowl, pack every­thing into two large glass jars. Use your clean fist or a smaller jar to firmly push the cab­bage down to fit it all in and push out any air bub­bles.

4 Now you need to weight the cab­bage down to en­sure that, once liq­uid has been re­leased from the cab­bage, it will stay en­tirely sub­merged. Place a re­served cab­bage leaf on top to form a bar­rier, then place some kind of weight on top – eg a smaller glass jar filled with stones or mar­bles, or a large clean stone (just make sure you don’t use any­thing me­tal).

5 Cover the whole jar with a clean cloth or tea towel and se­cure tightly with a rub­ber band or string (a cloth al­lows some air­flow but stops any dust or dirt get­ting in). Leave the jar at a cool room tem­per­a­ture and not in di­rect sun­light.

6 Af­ter 24 hours the level of liq­uid should have risen above the cab­bage. How­ever, if it hasn’t, sim­ply make a brine of 1 tsp salt to 1 cup wa­ter and pour into the jar un­til all the cab­bage is sub­merged.

7 Leave to fer­ment for 3-12 days, tast­ing a lit­tle every day. It’s ready when it has fer­mented to your taste buds’ lik­ing!

8 Once the sauer­kraut has fer­mented to your lik­ing, screw lids on the jars and store in the fridge. The sauer­kraut will keep for up to 2 months.

NOTES

While it’s fer­ment­ing, you will prob­a­bly see bub­bles ris­ing to the sur­face of the cab­bage and foam or white scum on the top. Th­ese are all good signs that happy fer­men­ta­tion is taking place. The scum can be skimmed off either dur­ing fer­men­ta­tion or at the end be­fore re­frig­er­at­ing. How­ever, if you see any mould, skim it off im­me­di­ately and make sure the cab­bage is fully sub­merged in liq­uid (and don’t worry, the rest of the sauer­kraut will be fine).

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