Sauerkraut: easy, tasty and zingy
It's been pretty darn hot here in the PNW. Everyone is complaining except me. For one, I love hot weather and secondly heat speeds up fermentation! I've been on a fermented food kick for the last two months. First it was Kambutcha and now I've added in sauerkraut. Granted I've been brewing wine and hard cider for the last two years but this is a less guilty pleasure and is body-positive, unlike alcohol. Here's a great read on all of the benefits of adding these probiotic rich foods to your diet: 6 Healing Benefits of Pro-Biotic Foods Now on to the sauerkraut! This is a super simple recipe that creates a cheap, yummy and tangy kraut that's great as a side dish, snack or topping.. I have it with breakfast every day along with a glass of homemade Kambutcha. Have fun with this recipe and feel free to play around with the mix of spices and seasonings..get creative!
Homemade Sauerkraut: yield roughly 6-8 cups
1 large head of green cabbage, outer leaves saved whole and the rest cut in 1/4's, core left in if using a grater, shredded at 1/4" strips
2 white onions, cut in half and finely shaved (use less if you want a milder kraut)
3 garlic cloves, finely grated (I use my rasp)
1/4 cup grated carrot (optional)
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon citric acid or juice of 1 lemon (for color preservation)
! Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of pickling salt or very finely ground sea salt (less if you're watching your salt intake)
1 cup cup of homemade Kambutcha (help speed up fermentation) or 1 cup water + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 very large glass jar, cleaned with hot soapy water
Cheese cloth or stocking to cover jar but allow air to reach the kraut
Large zip lock bag or other liquid-tight bag
Shred the cabbage and add in all of the other ingredients and toss well. Allow this mixture to sit for 10-20mins so the salt can start breaking down the cabbage. This will pull out moisture to be added to the jar later.
Pack the kraut into your clan jar, making sure to mash down the cabbage as firmly as you can, removing as much air as you can before adding more.
When you've completely packed the jar fold over and add in your large leaf from the outer part of the cabbage. This will for a cap to your mixture. If your jar is large enough you should be able to get it all in.
Pour in any remaining juices from the mixing bowl making sure to cover the top cap leaf fully but making sure you leave at least 2" of space from the mouth if the container. Press down on this leaf and compact the slaw even more and add more Kambutcha or water as needed to cover this cap.
Clean and cover the top of the jar with a piece of cheese cloth or a piece of stocking to keep bugs out but allow air in. Your kraut will bubble a bit and gasses may push the kraut and liquid to the very top so placing the containing within a nother container or a ziplock bag can keep any messes at bay.
Set jar in a warm part of the house for at least a week. Taste your kraut and see if it needs to sit longer and develop more flavor. If you leave it in a particularly warm place (80-95 degs) it will sour very fast and might be ready in as little as three days.
When it's reached the stage you're happy with screw on a cap and store it in your fridge and enjoy!
Add a little of your favorite, natural vinegar to the mix (preferably w/out(preservatives).
Use different driend spices: I made a batch with rosemary and tomatie powder recent;y.
Add chili powderor sauce for a bit of kick and heat.
Use different kinds of cabbages. Red cabbage sauerkraut is beautiful! (see Instagram pixs)