Today I am sharing with you one of the coolest things I have discovered over the past few years… the joy of fermented foods and this time in the form of a good old Sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut has a long history and comes in many flavours & forms but here we are going for a straight up German style Sauerkraut.
Not only is this stuff really good for you, it’s also a good excuse to build a fermentation kit from scratch. If that’s not your bag then no probs, all you need is a sterile kilner jar or something similar and you’re away.
Sauerkraut is packed with beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus, these little guys ferment the sugars in the cabbage which create lactic acid giving the Sauerkraut it’s distinctive sour flavour. Bare in mind these guys are living little flora so they need looking after. When fermenting anything you must make sure to keep all your jars, spoons, hands etc super clean.
Sauerkraut is very good for your digestive & immune system. It promotes the growth of healthy bowel flora resulting in a stronger immune system and it protects against many diseases of the digestive tract. Sauerkraut is also a great source of vitamins C, B, K, calcium and magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese. The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of these nutrients making Sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage.
This is why you need this food in your life:)
Sauerkraut three ways:
Above: Sterilized jar, sterilized stone, cabbage, salt and water.
Above: A home made fermentation jar. I had to make this myself as it’s near impossible to buy this all readymade in the U.K you can order one from the States but be prepared to pay quite a lot of money. I ordered all the separate bits online and put it together myself, it’s really easy.
- A jar with a food grade plastic screw lid or a metal lid lined underneath with a plastic protective layer, remember fermented food will corrode metal due to the salt and acidity.
- A bung
- An air lock
- A drill
Below: A tradition style fermentation crock, if you fill the crock up fully with brine so it spills over into the water channel will provide a seal to stop oxygen getting in.
SAUERKRAUT THREE WAYS
- 15g sea salt
- 1 litre of water
- ½ a small thinly sliced white cabbage
- (save 1 or 2 outer full leaves for sealing the jar)
- Mix up the brine (salt and water) in a large bowl.
- Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible or use a mandoline add the cabbage to the brine.
- Massage the cabbage in the brine solution for about a minute to help break down some of the cell walls.
- Transfer the cabbage in layers of an inch thick to a clean/sterilized large glass jar or crock with the end of a rolling pin gently bash each layer down.
- Keep on layering & bashing until the jar is about 2 inches from the top.
- Fold 1 or 2 cabbage leaves so they sit on top of the packed cabbage blocking any small pieces from floating up place a weight on the top of the leaves and fill with remaining brine all cabbage must be submerged under the brine.
- Put the lid on but not tight you may need to release excess air from the jar every day or so to prevent the jar from exploding as pressure from released carbon dioxide will build up as the cabbage ferments.
- Sit the jar on a plate or bowl to catch any brine that may leak out during fermentation.
- Taste after a few days until the desired taste has been reached, then refrigerate.
- Refrigerated sauerkraut can last for months; make sure the brine is always covering the cabbage.
Keep the brine solution topped up at all times, so it always sits above the cabbage.
A good weight to use for weighing down the cabbage leaves is a smooth stone, just large enough to fill the top of the jar. Give it a good scrub with washing up liquid and then boil it in water for 15 minutes to sterilise.
SAUERKRAUT (MADE THREE WAYS)