Naturally fermented cabbage (sauerkraut)
Lacto-fermented cabbage is full of natural bacteria that are good for you. The Korean version is called kimchi, but this basic recipe can be given more zing with spring onion, chilli, ginger, garlic and fish sauce.
Makes a 2ℓ jar Preparation time 1 hour plus fermenting time
• a 1,3kg head of cabbage • 1½ tablespoons (22,5ml) coarse sea salt • 1 tablespoon (15ml) caraway seeds
This is how
Sterilise two 1ℓ jars (or a 2ℓ jar). Also sterilise two much smaller jars (50ml each) that fit inside the openings of the large jars. The smaller jars will go inside the large jars on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged.
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and cut out the hard core. Finely shred the rest of the cabbage. Place all the cabbage in a large mixing bowl with the salt and, using clean hands, massage the salt into the cabbage for 10 minutes until it starts to soften and create its own liquid. Mix the caraway seeds through the cabbage.
Layer the cabbage in layers in the larger jars and press each layer down with a wooden spoon to remove any air bubbles. Don’t overfill the jars – leave at least 3cm at the top. ( Take care to add all the liquid in the mixing bowl.)
Fill the smaller jars with water and replace their lids, then place them on top of the cabbage inside the larger jars. Stretch a piece of cheesecloth over the opening of each large jar and secure the cheesecloth in place with a rubber band. Stand the jars away from direct sunlight in a spot where the temperature will remain fairly constant. After 24 hours, press the cabbage down into the jars again to make sure it’s covered by the liquid. If sufficient natural liquid hasn’t been released to cover the cabbage entirely, add just enough clean water.
When the cabbage starts to ferment, you’ll notice bubbles forming. Taste it after 3 days. It will take 3-6 days and is ready once the sourness is to your liking. Scoop off any foam that forms on top, cover the jars with lids and place in the fridge where they can be stored for at least 2 months.
This recipe for lacto-fermented cabbage results in a basic sauerkraut. To make kimchi, add carrot and chilli to the veg mixture.