Sauerkraut is made by very thinly slicing a cabbage and then "pickling" it by a process called lacto-fermentaion. In this process, lactic acid is created by the reaction of bacteria (from the air) combining with natural food sugars. Turning a cabbage into a fermented food now makes it a vegetable with probiotic advantages. It will now help balance out your bodies digestive system, gut flora and help fight against illness. To learn more about probiotics and their benefits please read my article You Are What You Eat.
I have made sauerkraut with red cabbage, white cabbage and with a combination of cabbage and carrots. I have yet to experiment with additional spices, do let me know if you have any favourite combinations.
- kitchen scale
- mandolin or sharp knives
- wooden spoon or pestle
- large bowl
- large mason jars
- single serving mason jars, shot glasses, clean rock for a weight
- pickle pipe
- 800 grams of cabbage (red or white) and carrots (about 9-10 cups)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
- Wash and chop cabbage into thin slices and break apart any chunks. It is important to weigh your cabbage in order to get the right amount of sea salt. Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
- Let sit for about 20-30 minutes to allow the salt to break down the cabbage and bring out the juice.
- Squeeze cabbage with hands or mash with a glass jar, wooden spoon or pestle. Do not use a metal instrument as it will react with the lacto-fermentation.
- Once you have extracted some juice and the cabbage is limp. Distribute the cabbage into jars by packing it down. Poor juices over the cabbage ensuring the cabbage is completely covered or scum will form. You may need to use a weight to submerge your cabbage. I place the cabbage in wide mason jars and use a small single serving mason jar as a weight.
- Ensure all cabbage is covered in the brine. If you need to add additional liquid, simply combine 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt with 1 cup of filtered water and add on top if required.
- Loosely seal jar but allow for some air to be released. I have recently started using the pickle pipe and find it to be way easier. The C02 gas that is created can be vented out but the kraut is not exposed keeping it from getting moldy.
- Place jars in a dark spot.
- It will take about a week for the process to be complete. Simply taste your sauerkraut every few days until it reaches your desired taste. I typically like mine after 7-9 days. Do check on your sauerkraut everyday to ensure it still looks well. If you see some scum forming simply scoop them off.
- Once fermentation is complete and the sauerkraut is to your liking, tighten the lids and place in your fridge. Refrigerated sauerkraut will last at least 6 months in the fridge.