Sauerkraut is brimming with healthy probiotics, gut healing agents and cancer fighting nutrients, that will help ensure wonderful gut health. Because of antibiotic use, and even the chlorine in our water, the healthy bacteria in our systems are often beaten down. Including naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut is an excellent way to rebuild healthy gut bacteria levels.
This process of preserving certain vegetables in salt relies on their natural lactic bacteria reacting with the salt and fermenting. Known as lacto-fermentation, the lactic acid produced preserves the vegetables. The best vegetables to salt are cabbages, cucumbers, radishes and green beans.
To calculate the salt needed, weigh the prepared vegetables and use about 60g of salt for every 2.5kg. The ideal temperature for successful fermentation is 20-22deg C. At this temperature the sauerkraut is ready in 3-4 weeks. It takes less time if it is warmer, and longer if it is colder.
Makes approx. 1.35kg or 2 medium preserving jars
Prep: 30-45 mins, plus fermentation
Keeps: 1-2 months, refrigerated
- 2.5-3kg hard white or red cabbage or half red and half white cabbage, shredded
- approx. 60g coarse sea or rock salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- cold brine, to cover, made from 1.5 tablespoon salt to 1 litre boiled water
- Calculate the salt. Weigh the shredded cabbage and calculate the amount of salt needed. Place the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Leave for a few minutes.
- Pack in large jar. Pack cabbage in 5cm layers at a time, scattering caraway seeds. Leave 7.5cm space at the top. Add bowl juices and extra cold brine to cover.
- Ferment cabbage. Cover with muslin, a plate and a weighted jar. Leave at room temperature. Check daily that the cabbage is submerged. Remove scum and replace muslin.
- Pot up and seal. Fermentation is complete when all the bubbling has ceased. Pot up into sterilized jars, seal, and store in the fridge.
Note: If your sauerkraut develops a pinkish hue, goes dark, or is very soft and mushy, it has not fermented properly and shouldn’t be eaten. You may have used too little salt, left air pockets in the jar, the cabbage was not completely submerged, it was stored too long, or the temperature was too high.