Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to Make Simple Sauerkraut

Finally - the post so many have asked about and have been waiting for.

Homemade Raw Sauerkraut!

Sauerkraut is super easy, and I'm so glad I took the time to try it.

1-2 medium heads of green or purple cabbage
1 tablespoon sea salt per head of cabbage (don't use table salt!)
Whatever else you want to add: carrots, beets (golden are great), ginger, dill, horseradish, whatever!
Quart-sized Ball/canning jars or
A food grade bucket with a ceramic plate that fits inside perfectly and a heavy weight (a jug of water, boiled rock, etc.)

Start with cabbage, the fresher, the better. If you have a food processor, grate it on the slice setting, not the shred setting. My processor has 2 settings. The first time I tried to grate it on the shred/fine setting, and it was too...well, fine. So use the slice setting. Put the cabbage in a bowl, add the salt, and let it weep for a few minutes. If using fresh cabbage, you will notice a difference; freshly picked cabbage lets off a ton of water! If you are going to add other items (carrots are a great and easy addition), shred those up, too, and mix in with the weeping cabbage.

The easiest way to start is to stuff it into jars. I have done this 2 ways. First way: Don't screw the lid on all the way because liquid will leak out of the jar for a few days - basically, leave it loose by like one quarter of an unscrew. Make sure you put the jars in a bowl or a big tupperware to catch the liquid. This is done so they don't expand and explode. Second way: Tighten the lid all the way. This is what I did last time. They still leaked liquid, and they didn't explode. So who knows :) Add extra water if the liquid doesn't cover the kraut, and then add a little more salt. With fresh cabbage, I had so much extra liquid I saved it in a jar in the fridge and added it to the jars when they looked a little low.

If you'd rather use a bucket (I did the first time), just shove the cabbage in there (you will need to use at least 3 heads), again making sure there is enough liquid. Cover with a plate (the edges of which must touch the sides of the bucket), and weigh down the plate. Then cover this with a towel to keep out bugs and dust.

Then put it in a closet or dark place. I check it after 4-5 days and screw the lid on the jars the rest of the way if there's enough liquid in there. Leave for 4 weeks, or a little less if hot.

That's it! When it's done fermenting, store it in the fridge. It is a living food, after all! Right now, I have some new flavors fermenting, including a Mexican-themed jar with jalapeno and cilantro, a jar with beets, and I don't remember what else!

Find out more information here at Wild Fermentation.

And I'll leave you with some pictures:
Below, you see 2 jars of Colorful Caraway Kraut with carrots and caraway seeds, and 1 jar of Hot Pink Horsey Kraut with green & purple cabbage & some fresh horseradish. This is the before shot :)

Colorful Caraway Kraut after fermenting (and after me eating half the jar before I stopped to take a picture!)

Hot Pink Horsey Kraut

And a bucket shot before putting the plate and weight in it:

Next up: fermented pickles! I'll let you know how they come out.

1 comment:

JayLeigh said...

Oh, goodness, that sounds very cool and it even looks pretty! I hope I can make some sometime. Thank you for sharing!