Sauerkraut is simply cabbage fermentated in its own juice. Fermented foods provide unique characteristics to our diet, improve our digestive and immune systems, as well as being more nutritious than unfermented foods. But the best thing about Sauerkraut is that it is very easy to make!
I'll show you how to make simple sauerkraut, but in addition to the cabbage, you can add other ingredients such as apple, carrot, onion, raisins, seaweed... And also spices that give it flavor and medicinal properties, such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, pepper, fennel, juniper, cinnamon ... Add them to chopped cabbage either cuted in pieces or whole, depending on the ingredient.
To make plain sauerkraut:
- Wash the cabbage and set aside 3-4 outer leaves. Remove the hard part from the center, weigh the green part and chop it into very thin strips.
- Add 1 tablespoon of salt per kilo of cabbage and distribute it in layers, stir and let it rest until the cabbage begins to release juice.
- Massage the cabbage for about 10-15 minutes until squeezing a handful releases its own juice.
- Put the cabbage, well pressed and submerged in its own juice, into a sterilized jar, without leaving air between the leaves.
- Add the outer leaves on the top as a lid to press the cabbage leaves so they stay submerged.
- Cover the container, better letting the fermentation gas escape, and leave it in a cool, dark place.
If your cap does not let out the gas that is going to be produced in the fermentation, you should open and close the container once or twice a day, especially during the first week, so the gas does not accumulate inside the jar and make it explode. At home we ferment for a month, but the times vary in each place. We know that it has already fermented when it is no longer bubbling, since it is the fermentation that produces the bubbles. Close and keep the jar, they say, that in the fridge, where it stays healthy for a year. In our case we leave it in the pantry and it has never gone bad.
Tricks of the house
- Sterilize the cans.
- Find a knife with which you cut to taste and work its edge.
- Prepare the pieces for easier cutting: Cut the cabbage into quarters, easily scoop out the heart, and then cut those quarters lengthwise, like hamburgers so that you will have 12 or 16 cabbage pieces that are very easy to chop.
- Use a plastic cap because the metal can be damaged by the acid. I like to use chocolate cream jars because they have a plastic cap.
- Use a container in which the diameter of the opening is smaller than the diameter of the container, so that it has a saddle or shoulder pad shape just below the opening to better fit the large pieces of cabbage leaves that help us maintain dipped the sauerkraut.
- You can ferment in a large jar and once the fermentation is finished, store the sauerkraut in small jars.
During the process
- Don't knead! Alternatively I have used the bread mixer with a low power whisk and for 4 minutes and it worked very well.
- Do not fully fill the jars, if you do, the brine will spill over the edge due to the bubbles from the fermentation.
- When filling the jar you can press the cabbage strips with the handle of the mortar to make sure that there is no air inside, pressing every 4 - 5 tablespoons of sauerkraut that you add to the container. This way you make sure to press all the cabbage evenly.
- If you see that the brine has disappeared and the cabbage strips are in contact with the air, you must add water until it is submerged again, if you refill with brine at the end it will be too salty.
- If you want to improve hygiene, you can buy or make an air trap, which allows the fermentation gas to escape and prevents the entry of microbes.
And that's it. You'll tell me how it turned out!