Hello Dear Reader,
I had a quarter of a smallish red cabbage, left over from when I made coleslaw to take away with us camping. I know cabbage keeps for ages anyway but I wanted to have a go at making Sauerkraut. This is my second attempt at making this simple fermented food, I made a lot of mistakes with the first one, but the biggest one was letting it ferment for too long in too much heat. The ideal temperature should be under 28C, which it definitely hasn't been lately. The other golden rule is to keep it submerged, your sauerkraut needs to ferment in an anaerobic situation. Air invites bad bacteria that will make your sauerkraut taste funky and probably make you sick.
Fermentation of cabbage was used to provide food when fresh food was scarce during the long cold months, it provided not only food, but nourishment. Now, we are very fortunate, as we don't need to think about where our next meal will come from and there certainly isn't any need to worry about lack of fresh foods during our minuscule Winter.
I just wanted to give this a go and reap the benefits of having a food rich in beneficial bacteria which is good for gut health. There are so many recipes out there, it is hard to know where to start. I just read as much as I could and then thought about where those people writing about how to make Sauerkraut were, turns out they definitely weren't in Queensland, Australia, during one our hottest Summers on record.
So what I did was, make a much smaller batch, left it only one week, kept it as cool as I could without putting it in the fridge (bottom of the pantry)and kept the cabbage submerged under the brine. And it worked, now all I have to do is actually taste a Sauerkraut made my someone else to see if mine is even close. My Sauerkraut is crunchy, slightly sour and just delicious. I have read the ratio for cabbage to salt should be-for every 100 grams of cabbage you need 2.5 grams of good quality salt or do what I did and just add a spoon full of salt and away you go. The following instructions are for a very small amount of cabbage, but of course you can make as much as you like.
Slice the cabbage really finely and put into a large bowl
Add a teaspoon of salt
And get your hands in there, massage, wring out and mash the cabbage for at least 10 minutes. This breaks up the cell walls on the cabbage letting the liquid escape
Liquid will start to seep out of the cabbage, thats great, this liquid forms your fermentation brine
Using you hands, scrape and pour all the bashed about cabbage and liquid into a glass jar
Now press and mash further until all the cabbage is submerged in brine
Weigh the cabbage down under the brine with something ceramic or glass (no plastic or metal)
How long you leave it depends on how tart and sour you like your Sauerkraut. I am a bit of a wimp so I only left it a week.
Okay, hit me, give me your best tips and tricks for making an excellent Sauerkraut. Is my method even close?