Try making your very own fermented sauerkraut this week!
1 head green cabbage
1 head purple cabbage
2-3 tbsp sea salt
2-4 tbsp fresh ginger
1 Lemon – squeezed
1-2 cups water
- To begin, you will need to have ready and sanitized several glass fermenting jars (or a German crock), a large glass bowl (or pail), slicer (or food processor), knife, cutting board, etc…
- Now that you have your ingredients, make sure to wash everything extra well. This includes any bowls, utensils, jars and especially hands! You can even peel off and discard the outer layers of the cabbage if they look like they suspect. Chop off the base of the cabbage and put aside for later.
- Now it’s time to shred some heads (of cabbage that is!) You’ll see below that I prefer to use a ceramic blade mandoline slicer since I have found that it provides the most lovely and lively ferment (Plus it’s a great work out!). But not all of us have the patience (or arm power) to shred all that cabbage by hand… So no worries, the shred attachment on your food processor will also get the job done in no time! And if you’re making a sauerkraut recipe that has other vegetables in it, there are no rules as to how to chop and dice your veggies… just have fun experimenting with all the possibilities!
- Now that everything is beautifully prepared, it’s time to simply toss it all together in a really BIG bowl and add the remaining ingredients. You can use your hands (clean hands of course) to make sure everything is well combined…
- Now stuff this mixture into your jars, packing it down tightly and leaving 2-3 inches of space from the top. I repeat, it is very important to leave room at the top to prevent a massive organic eruption upon opening the jar! Pour the remaining brine into the jars until the veggies are submerged. And here’s the helpful trick I mentioned earlier… You can use your saved cabbage bottom by cutting it to size and creating a sort of seal or platform for the top layer. This will allow you to easily push the cabbage down so that it stays submerged as it ferments. And as the last final touch I like to squeeze fresh lemon all along the top to prevent any bad germs from growing on anything exposed…
- And now comes the fun part… Time to ferment! Place your sealed jars in a safe place at room temperature (and away from direct light) and allow to rest anywhere from 4 to 10 days. In this time you will see your vegetables come to life… bubbles may start forming in the jar and the colors will change… I recommend occasionally ‘burbing’ your sauerkraut by briefly opening the lids and allowing some bubbles to escape. Use a clean utensil to push everything down so that it remains submerged below the liquid. You can taste your sauerkraut along the way until it is just the way you like!
- Time to enjoy all the healthful benefits of this probiotic and vitamin rich food! You can store your sauerkraut in the refrigerator indefinitely and like I mentioned before, be extra careful when opening!
[Recipe and photo courtesy of sauerkrautrecipe.org]