Ever wanted to know how to make homemade sauerkraut from scratch? Get your sausages and mashed potatoes out. This is how to ferment cabbage and turn it into delicious sauerkraut.
2 Ingredients and some patience. That's all it takes to make the best homemade sauerkraut of your life.
Once you have made sauerkraut at home you would probably not turn back to store-bought versions again.
Sauerkraut is a Lacto ferment. The easiest form of fermentation.
Homemade sauerkraut is loaded with healthy probiotics, fibre, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. And of course a ton of flavour.
This homemade sauerkraut recipe is extremely straight forward and simple with few ingredients.
All you need is salt and whatever it is you are fermenting.
In this case. Cabbage.
- Cabbage - A Healthy unblemished, unspoiled cabbage. Young or old. No discrimination here. Young will just be greener and softer.
- Salt - Natural non-iodized fine salt
How to make it
The steps taken to make homemade sauerkraut are very simple and it's easy to understand the fermentation of cabbage when shown how to do it properly.
Before you start make sure you wash your equipment and fermentation jar thoroughly with soap and water.
Followed by your hands.
Then keep them clean throughout the process.
This is very important as we don't want bad bacteria spoiling our sauerkraut.
Basic Lacto fermentation formula
- 2% salt to dry weight fruit or vegetable.
- That means for every 100g product use 2 grams of salt.
- Wash and cut the cabbage finely.
- Place it into a large enough bowl.
- Add 2% salt to the weight of the cabbage and massage it with your hands or pound with a sauerkraut pounder until the cabbage releases its juice.
- Place into a 3L fermentation vessel like a mason jar.
- Press the cabbage down firmly so that it's covered with its own juices.
- Put a piece of plastic wrap or another cabbage leaf on top to ensure no air gets to the cabbage.
- Place a weight on top. This can be a small bag filled with water, ceramic fermentation weights, glass fermentation weights or anything else you can find.
- Close the container or Maison jar with a lid, a lid fitted with an airlock or just a plastic glove. Ferment at room temperature for about 7 days or until you are happy with the level of sourness. When you close it with a lid when using a Mason jar make sure to let out some gas after about 4 days and repeat every 4 days after that if you are fermenting the cabbage for longer.
When it's ready move your sauerkraut to the fridge and store for up to 3 months. Take note that the fermentation will still continue in the fridge. just at a much slower rate.
So, don't keep it too long and rather eat it within a month or so for the best flavour.
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Other things you can add to homemade sauerkraut when fermenting are:
- Carrot - Grated finely and added just before putting into a jar.
- Berries - Small sour berries like red currants works great. Add a few when putting into a jar.
- Apple - Grate finely and also add at the jarring stage.
- Spice - Whole peppercorn, mustard seeds, allspice and bay leaf are all good contenders.
When adding anything else to your fermented cabbage recipe make sure to keep the flavours and combinations simple.
You don't want to overload it with flavours.
Also, Keep in mind that the original flavour of food changes dramatically when put through the fermentation process.
Sauerkraut is often served with grilled meats and sausages. For good reason too as it balances the richness of such dishes and the enzymes and bacteria present in sauerkraut make those dishes more easily digestible.
- Serve with rich meats like this crispy pork belly on the BBQ or these lamb chops.
- Also delicious with this roasted lamb leg or lamb koftas with a side of buttery mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.
- With roasted carrots and chanterelle mushrooms.
- Great with mustard on a sandwich with grilled sausage or on other toasted artisan bread like flax sourdough, rye sourdough or Borodinsky rye bread.
- Sauerkraut is naturally vegan and can also be served with or in combination with other healthy green vegetables like bok choy, broccoli and spinach.
- Within moderation, it's also keto-friendly and can be served with pan-fried salmon, steak or added to duck and kale stir-fry.
Frequently asked questions
It's best eaten within a month as it can develop some strange flavours as the fermentation slowly keeps going.
A good Sauerkraut should have a sour funky, tangy and slightly sweet flavour. The colour should be white or very pale yellow when done fermenting and the texture should not be mushy.
Traditionally it is made in a crock. Just make sure the cabbage is completely submerged under its own juice and the crock has a lid.
Not advised as the quality suffers.
During the fermentation, probiotics are produced. These are live beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and boosts the immune system. It also contains vitamins C and K in abundance along with magnesium, calcium and a ton of dietary fiber.
If you are fermenting something and you spot mould then throw it out. Something has gone wrong and your ferment is spoiled. Kahlm yeast, however, is harmless and just a by-product of Lacto fermentation and can sometimes look like mould.
Other recipes you might like
If you like fermenting foods then you will find the following recipes useful.
- Sriracha - mix with homemade sauerkraut to make cheat kimchi. Same same but different.
- Fermented strawberry soda
- Sourdough starter and crépes from the sourdough discard.
Useful equipment for this recipe
Mandoline slicer - Buy Now
Mixing bowl - Buy Now
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