I’m on a fermentation kick lately, and sauerkraut is my favorite. I love it because it’s easy to make and it tastes great on everything from hotdogs to soup. But mostly I love it because homemade sauerkraut is full of probiotics, and I’ve had enough rounds of antibiotics to need some help in that department.
Cabbage naturally has lactic bacteria, which is why it’s so fermentable!
To make a single large Mason jar worth of sauerkraut, here’s what you do:
- Grate one medium head of cabbage.
- Toss cabbage in 1 tsp of non-iodized salt. (You could use up to 2 tsp of salt. You could also use less salt, but it’s not as much fun.)
- Toss in some other flavours at this point. (I’ve given some ideas below).
- Pack it into a Mason jar and beat it down with a spoon to squeeze as much into the jar as possible. Leave about 1″ of head room.
- Top with something to keep the cabbage weighted down. (In the photo, I’ve used small jam jars on the purple kraut, and the core of the cabbage for the green kraut).
- Loosely cover the jars to keep out pests. (You could use cloths, but I just float the metal jar lid on top.)
- Store the jar in at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for at least three days, but up to seven weeks.
- For the first three days the kraut will bubble and form liquid. You will want to place your jars on a bowl or plate, to catch any juice that might bubble out of the jar. After the first day the cabbage should be completely submerged by it’s own liquid. If it isn’t, then you will need to top with water. But try tamping the cabbage down first as it shouldn’t be necessary to add extra liquid.
- Keep checking your kraut every few days to make sure that the cabbage is fully submerged. After 3 days start tasting it with a clean fork. The kraut is finished when you like the flavour. Just pop it into the fridge to stop the fermentation process.
Flavour additions (live a little and be creative with your ferments):
- 1 tsp caraway seed, 1 tsp mustard seed and 10 juniper berries (my favourite flavour).
- Adding a cup of grated apple, fennel, cranberries or carrot will sweeten the kraut.
- Onion or garlic are a savory addition.
- For a spicy kraut add hot pepper slices or chili flakes.
- 2 bay leaves and 5 black peppercorns.
- 2 tsp of mixed Indian curry spices
- 1 tsp dill seed
Feel free to experiment and have fun fermenting!