Sauerkraut is a popular form of lacto-fermented food traditionally made in Eastern Europe. It is abundant in natural probiotics and calcium, antioxidants, electrolytes, and high amounts of vitamin B, C as well as a good source of fibre. Fermented foods support gut health, ease digestion and provide relief from heartburn.
Photo: Jeremy Keith
What you need:
2-3 jars (about 1L) thoroughly clean/scalded (including cap),
1 white cabbage (about 2kg)
kosher salt (40g=2 spoons)
You can also add 2 carrots and chosen spices e.g. bay leaf, garlic (2-3 cloves), cumin (1/2 teaspoon), mustard seeds (1/2 teaspoon), turmeric.
Choose rather a compact cabbage – no loose leaves. Remove bad looking leaves and rinse the cabbage. Quarter it and remove the core. Slice the cabbage on a mandolin slicer or with a large knife. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with salt, add sliced carrots and spices if you like. Massage vegetables with your hands until the brine appears. Leave for about 1 hour.
Photo: Monika Ludvigsen
Transfer the cabbage into a clean jar/jars in a few handfuls at a time, pressing it to the bottom to work out air pockets. You can use your hand, spoon or a wooden masher. Finally, you should have a jar packed tightly with the cabbage to ¾ of its height with brine on top of it. If some leaves are still not covered on the top prepare a solution of salty water (1L filtered water with 20g salt) to cover the cabbage completely but still leaving a bit of room (2-3 inches) under the lid. Turn the lid but not very tightly to let gases get out of the jar during fermentation. Place the jar on a trey (the liquid may get out of the jar while fermenting). Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight for a few days (depending on the temperature in the kitchen). Check it after 3 days. If you notice the lid is bumped up or the cabbage is not completely covered open a jar for a moment and press the cabbage with a clean fork. It should be always covered by the brine. Check the taste every couple of days. When the flavour is pickle-y acid enough and the cabbage became soft but still crunchy it is ready to use. Tighten the lid and refrigerate for up to 6 months.
The sauerkraut can be eaten on its own or incorporate into salads or even sprinkled over sandwiches. Also, cooked with soups and stews (always cook it separately and then mix as the acid will not allow other ingredients to get tender). Don`t throw away the brine as its properties are like the ones of a cabbage.
Not only white cabbage can be fermented but also a red one and almost any kind of vegetables in endless combinations.
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