You are almost ready to begin to put together your fermented veggie concoction. First, you just need to get yourself to your local organic store and pick up the following:
- Organic Cabbage. A whole cabbage is our main ingredient. This can be either red or the classic white savoy cabbage. If you cannot decide you can use half and half of both. Organic cabbage is best but if you cannot find an organic cabbage, do not worry, just rinse it with a good veggie wash before using.
- Himalayan Sea Salt or Celtic Sea Salt. You will need one tablespoon of sea salt for every kilogram of cabbage. So you will need approximately one to tablespoons for one cabbage. I am stipulating Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt here as these are rich in all of the trace minerals which we seem to be so lacking in our diet these days.
- Optional Additions.1 tablespoon of Juniper berries, caraway seeds, fresh dill or whole black peppers. These are used as aromatics and as additional digestive aids. My favourite addition is actually caraway seeds and juniper berries, as I love using these herbs naturopathically to help with digestion and fluid balance.
Now you are ready to start fermenting. There are just a few simple steps involved.
- GRATE: Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Grate, slice or food process the cabbage so that it is at your desired thickness. My favourite style of sauerkraut is actually very fine so I used the food processor to slice it thinly.
- WEIGH: Weigh the cabbage and weigh out the correct amount of salt. Remember it is 1 tablespoon per kilo of cabbage.
- TOSS: Toss the cabbage, salt and any optional herbs/spices together in a large mixing bowl and begin to squeeze the cabbage and salt together with your hands, kneading it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the shredded cabbage.
- TRANSFER: When the cabbage has become limp and releases its juice, transfer it to your glass jar. Pack the salted cabbage into your glass jar as tightly as you can, eliminating air bubbles. At this point you wish to use the kraut pounder to pack the cabbage tightly within.
- PACK & SUBMERGE: Continue packing the cabbage into the container until the cabbage is completely submerged by the brine you have created.
- COVER: Ensure that there is enough liquid covering the cabbage. If you need to, add some filtered water so that all the cabbage has been covered by liquid. This is important to ensure the cabbage does not get mouldy. Cover the cabbage with an outer leaf of the cabbage and one of the submersion weights, I normally use a saucer.
- REST: Let the sauerkraut rest at room temperature for two to three weeks. The shredded cabbage releases water, which combines with the salt to form vegetable brine. Bacteria on the cabbage create lactic acid, which acts as a preservative. As the cabbage ferments, scum floats to the top of the container. Don’t worry, scum is normal. Just remove it regularly so it does not inhibit fermentation.
You are done! But you may have some more questions about your creation which is now fermenting away. Stay tuned for my FAQ email – in your inbox tomorrow.