Sauerkraut is probably one of the oldest fermented foods in Europe. Sauerkraut literally means ‘sour-cabbage’ in the German language, in fact, it is still so popular in Germany that it can be purchased from wooden barrels at almost all food markets and is still regularly served in restaurants.
Sauerkraut is a rich source of Lactobacillus bacteria which can help support our own gut bacteria. Eating just a couple of forkfuls of sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables has been shown to increase the diversity and numbers of our beneficial bacteria in our guts.
- One whole white (or red) cabbage
- 1.5 tablespoons Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
- Start by sterilising a large jam jar or 500ml Kilner jar by putting through the dishwasher or popping into the oven at 100°C for 15 minutes.
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage (you will need these later) and shred the cabbage into thin slices. Alternatively you can slice in a food processor using the grater attachment.
- Place the shredded cabbage into a large ceramic bowl and add the salt. Mix in with clean hands until the salt is well distributed.
- Spoon the cabbage mixture into the sterilised jars pushing down with a wooden spoon so that a brine forms.
- The cabbage should be completely covered by the brine. Top up with a little water if necessary to ensure that all the cabbage is covered. Leave around 2-3 cm free at the top of the glass jars.
- Take the reserved cabbage leaves and press down over the sauerkraut to help keep the leaves submerged.
- Pop on the lid or shut the Kilner jar and leave the sauerkraut to stand at room temperature for 1-3 days. In warmer weather it will ferment faster than in winter so it is best to keep checking it daily so that it doesn’t start to fizz! When you see bubbles rising up the side it is ready to be transferred to the fridge.
- Once in the refrigerator, the sauerkraut should last for around 4 weeks.
Uses: As an accompaniment to salads, with cold meats or eaten just before a meal.