Sauerkraut is a wonderful, healing food. Lacto-fermented, it is probiotic, and so contributes to a good balance of gut flora, which is essential for general health. It is delicious, salty and savoury, and makes an excellent addition to a sandwich, any kind of wrap, or salad.
Making sauerkraut for the first time was a real landmark for me. I was really apprehensive! I think, as a coeliac (celiac), I am anxious about foods that will upset me, and home-made fermentation seemed something that would easily go wrong. It’s easy to get so disconnected from these processes, that home fermenting is perceived as difficult, and such a psychological yuck chasm to leap. But it’s really not, it’s so easy, especially if you are fermenting small batches to eat and not to keep out of the fridge for months or years (I’ll keep you updated when I reach that stage!) Just keep everything clean and go for it! Try making it once, and next time you’ll be super confident; lacto-fermenting veterans out there will surely agree.
Cabbage is one of the cheapest and most nutritious foods, and if you have had problems before do try it, as a fermented food it is so much easier to digest, and lacto-fermenting both preserves and adds nutrients to the mix.
So many probiotic products are expensive, the point came for me when I was buying coconut yogurt (which is delicious), on a budget, and I realised that I should be making my own probiotic foods. A cabbage, some salt, a recycled jar or mason jar, or whatever lidded jar you have, and you’re good to go.
Now, home-made sauerkraut is always in my fridge, and I just love it! I make a batch every few weeks. It’s me looking after me, and that feels good.
- Half a white cabbage
- 1 tbsp salt
- Pickling jar/ mason jar/ jam jar
Quarter half a white cabbage, and then chop finely. Add to the bowl with the salt and for ten minutes rub the salt into the cabbage, pummeling it with your hands. The cabbage will release liquid, this is your pickling juice.
Press the cabbage into the pickling jar and top with the liquid, which should cover the cabbage (if it doesn't add a little more water and a small amount of salt).Fermentation- Put a piece of clean cabbage leaf over the top, pressing it down, and on top of this add something heavy, such as a shot glass with coins in it, anything to weigh it all down. Cover with a piece of muslin (or I often use kitchen roll) and leave on the kitchen at room temperature for 3-7 days.
Press the cabbage down regularly (every day, twice if possible), making sure it is under the brine.As with all pickling, keep everything really clean
As with all pickling, keep everything really clean; the jar, bowl, work surface, chopping board, utensils and your hands. If any mould develops on top just remove it, the pickles in the brine will not be affected. If the surface foams, this is good, if it doesn't don't worry.
This sauerkraut recipe is not my invention but the wide-spread traditional method.