Yes indeed. You know it. You either love it or hate it. But if you haven’t had it home-made, boy are you missing out. Especially since it’s so easy. Homemade fermented sauerkraut is not only quite healthy for you (lots of beneficial bacteria grow in there that aid digestion and are generally good for you), but it tastes so much better than the pickled-in-vinegar stuff you usually find at the store. Naturally sour due to acid produced by the bacteria eating the sugar in the cabbage, with a bit of that warm, yeasty after-taste you sometimes get from a good beer, and a nice, firm crunch. Really, if you’ve never had home-made sauerkraut, give it a try.
Recipe to fill a 5 liter jug:
- 3 heads of cabbage
- About 9 tsp sea salt
- Chop each cabbage in half and then in half again (so, in quarters), remove the core, and then slice each quarter as thinly as possible.
- In a bowl, mix about 3 tsp salt per head of cabbage (you can do it 1/4 or 1/2 cabbage at a time, depending on what size bowl you have) with the shredded cabbage. Use your hands to make sure the salt is rubbed in well, rub it into the cabbage until it is starting to dissolve.
- As you get the salt mixed in, transfer the cabbage to the jar, and press down firmly all around, so cabbage is well-compacted.
- Once you’ve gotten all the cabbage in the jar, and all is well pressed down; if there is not enough liquid to cover all the cabbage, add brine just until the cabbage is covered (brine is 1 cup water and 2 tsp salt).
- In order to hold cabbage below the level of the liquid, put a large ziplock bag filled with brine (in case it leaks) on top of the cabbage. Make sure not to use a biodegradable bag.
- Let sauerkraut sit in jar for approximately 2 weeks – open the jar and press down cabbage every day or two, as it will release liquid and therefore lose volume. Be careful as you open the lid, as gas will build up in the jar, release it slowly when you open to avoid being showered in brine.
- After about two weeks (the longer it goes, the more soft and sour it will be), open jar, remove plastic bag from top, and stick a fork in and try it. Mmmmm. Let it sit in the fridge for a day or two for the flavors to kind of mellow out a bit, and it will keep in the fridge for several months.
Update – we made a second batch, and didn’t use a plastic bag on top, but just sealed the big jar, and twice a day we let the gas out (the fermentation releases gas), and packed the cabbage down so it was below the brine level, and that worked fine as well.