Fermented foods like Sauerkraut, Kefir and even good old fashion yoghurt are chock full of probiotics which are great for gut health and consequently our immune system.
Homemade yoghurt is a bit of a staple in these parts, you've seen me try my hand at kefir, kefir bread and even kefir hot cross buns, so now I'm trying my hand at Sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is simply fermented cabbage and as unappealing as that may initially sound it's actually quite nice and so so simple to make.
1 medium head of cabbage
1 tablespoon salt
This is all you need for a basic Sauerkraut, but you can get creative with different flavours and include different fruits and vegetables if you want. Apple and cabbage is a good combination and I have seen quiet a few recipes with mustard or fennel seeds.
A large metal bowl
Knife and chopping board OR Food processor with shredding blades
Glass jar (sterilised in boiled water and thoroughly dried)
Clean cheese cloth
Firstly makes sure all your equipment, surfaces and hands are nice and clean.
Remove several large outer leaves from the cabbage and set aside.
Shred the remaining cabbage either using the knife and chopping board or in the food processor. Once the cabbage is shredded, transfer it to the clean, dry bowl and add the salt.
Mix, massage and squeeze the cabbage with your clean hands for about 5 minutes until the cabbage begin to break down and release lots of fluid.
Once it's all juicy, begin filling the clean jar, making sure to press the cabbage down as you go so that it is tightly packed. You should see the juices covering the cabbage leaves.
Once the jar is about 3/4 quarters full, take the large leaves you initially reserved, roughly fold them and pack them in the top of the jar, pressing down as tight as you can to ensure the shredded cabbage stays submerged underneath the juices and there is no air pockets. If needed you can place a heavy weight (like a small jar that will fit inside the larger one) on top to help keep the cabbage submerged.
Once you have finished packing the cabbage, place the cheese cloth over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Place the jar in a dark place such as the back of the pantry and leave it there for at least 3 days if not a few weeks. The time will depend on the temperature and how fermented you like your Sauerkraut. The warmer it is the quicker it will ferment. Once fermented it will smell sort of sour-sweet and should bubble.
Once you think it is ready (e.g. it smells sort of sour-sweet and has bubbled), remove the rubber band and take out the large, folded cabbage leaves and discard them. What you are left with under these large leaves is your Sauerkraut.
After I made my first batch I really had no idea what to do with it. Most people seem to eat it with meat, but I have just been using it as a condiment/ side with meals.
To store it, just resecure the cloth to the top of the jar and place in the fridge.