Sauerkraut is a tangy, tasty form of fermented cabbage. You’ve probably encountered it as a topping at hotdog stands, but it can be eaten as a pizza topping, in omelets, on burgers, or any other way that strikes your fancy. It’s good for adding flavour to your winter meals, and it’s a great source of vitamins and probiotics.
Like many things, it can be made at home. Here are some instructions to get you started.
Ingredients & supplies:
- One cabbage (any kind)
- Large jar
- 1 ½ tablespoons of Kosher salt (although ordinary table salt can be used if necessary)
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Knife (able to chop cabbage)
- Smaller jar or other small weight (able to fit inside the large jar).
- Start by making sure your cutting board, knife, mixing bowl and jars are all very clean. Wash your hands! Your sauerkraut will have better chances of success if you avoid all contamination.
- Chop the cabbage into quarters. Remove and discard the hard, innermost core of the cabbage, then slice each quarter into eight thinner wedges. Slice those into thinner strips. Thinner is better… but watch your fingers.
- Put your cabbage strips and salt into a mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix and squeeze the cabbage strips for about 5-10 minutes. The cabbage will become soft and limp, and salty liquid (brine) will gradually leak out of it. This is good.
- Put the cabbage (and any brine liquid) into your large jar. Pack it in tightly with your hands or a wooden spoon.
***NOTE: Don’t use metal utensils, as the metal may react to the brine liquid and leach into the sauerkraut.
- Put your smaller jar inside the larger one, using it as a weight to press down the cabbage even further. An optional step is to put marbles or other weights in the smaller jar (after washing well!) to make it even heavier.
- Put the lid on your big jar. Keep it somewhere cool, but not too cool – aim for about 15 degrees Celsius. Over the next 24 hours, keep checking your sauerkraut, and squash the cabbage down further every once in a while. More brine liquid will leak from the cabbage. After the 24 hours, if the cabbage is not totally submerged in liquid, do the following: mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of water, and add this salty water to your jar until the cabbage is just submerged.
- Leave your sauerkraut alone to ferment. Check it occasionally to ensure the cabbage stays submerged beneath the brine; press it back down whenever necessary. Keeping the cabbage underneath the liquid helps avoid any danger of mold. During the fermentation process, it is normal to see bubbles on the surface – or a thin layer of white scum, which you can easily remove – but be wary at any sign of actual mold. Use your own judgment. Saurkraut should have a sour, fermented smell, but if it smells or looks moldy, don’t eat it!
The length of the fermentation process is up to you. Some people say a week is minimum, while others recommend leaving the sauerkraut for several months. It depends on taste. I left my sauerkraut for two weeks before I tried tasting it, and that worked well.
When you decide it’s ready, remove the smaller jar from the larger one (no need to compress the cabbage anymore) and put your sauerkraut in the fridge. It should stay good for at least a month or two. Always check it before eating to make sure it’s still good.
Latest posts by Georgia Atkin (see all)
- How the Remanufacturing Industry is Giving New Life to Old Products - March 23, 2018
- Homemade Sauerkraut - December 23, 2017
- China Appoints River Chiefs to Reverse Water Pollution - October 5, 2017