In this blog post I will show you just how simple it is to make basic Sauerkraut at home. Over the last year or so I have been experimenting with different flavours since learning the basics from Fermentation Guru Sammi Zajko. I have the great privilege of being able to create jars of Sauerkraut using cabbages we have grown at home.
First of all start with great quality produce. If you can buy organic or locally grown cabbages you are well on your way to producing a superior product.
Next resist the temptation to wash your cabbages if they are organic or home grown. Give them a quick rinse to remove the dirt from the outside but remember that tap water contains chlorine which can kill the “good” bacteria we are trying to encourage into our Sauerkraut. In an ideal world you should only rinse them with filtered water.
You don’t need samurai master knife skills to chop the cabbages. The finer you can get them the easier it will be to soften the cabbage and squash them into the jar.
Many recipes call for a sauerkraut pounder to “pound” the cabbage down to fit into the jar but as long as you have finely sliced the cabbage and you are happy to spend a few minutes scrunching with your hands this special piece of kit is not necessary.
Your jars will resemble brightly coloured jewels initially. The colour will fade over time as the veggies are broken down. There is no need to store the jars in the dark, in fact, they like to be in the light. Just keep them away from direct sunlight as they will get too hot.
So that’s it… the basic formula is 1kg of cabbage, 1/2 onion, 4 teaspoons of salt and a tablespoon of seeds for flavour.
The science really isn’t clear about the specific health benefits of eating fermented foods however I think the general conscious really is that everyone can benefit from good quality traditional style fermented food.
- 500g Red Cabbage
- 500g Green Savoy Cabbage
- 1/2 medium Red Onion
- 4 teaspoons Salt
- 1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds
- You will need a clean (washed but not sterilised) 1 litre glass jar for this recipe.
- Remove the hard core from inside the cabbages.
- Finely slice the green & red cabbages along with the the peeled red onion into 2-3mm slices.
- You can do this either by slicing sections of the cabbage with a large sharp knife or by using the slicing attachment on your food processor.
- Add the sliced veggies to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle over the salt and caraway seeds.
- You might like to experiment with other seeds and spices.
- I have included Caraway Seeds in this recipe as they are the traditional flavour.
- Other options I have used include coriander seeds, fennel seeds, celery seeds or chilli flakes.
- Using your hands scrunch the veggies until they soften and reduce in volume by at least a half.
- Pack the veggies into the 1L glass jar as tight as you can.
- Screw on the lid and store in an old baking dish or bowl at room temperature.
- Over the next 1-2 weeks the "good" bacteria in the jar will release gasses that will form bubbles and some of the juices from the cabbage will be forced out the top of the jar.
- Remove the lid of the jar once a day (for the first 1-2 weeks) and using the back of a spoon push the veggies down below the level of the juices.
- Be carful that the juices do not spill out onto your kitchen counter as they may leave a stain.
- The Sauerkraut is ready to eat after 2-3 weeks but you can leave it for months.
- Check your Sauerkraut at regular intervals until it reaches the flavour profile you enjoy then store in the fridge.