If you love the tangy and sour taste of sauerkraut, you’ll love how easy it is to make at home! Requiring only two ingredients, this dish is a product of fermentation and, though it takes time and patience, it’s surprisingly easy to make. Sauerkraut is the result of good bacteria converting sugars into lactic acid in a sealed environment over time, that acts as a natural preservative of fresh ingredients. It’s an acquired taste, but you’ll love it and the whole family will love making itit’s dinner and the kids’ science project in one!
Yields 1-1 1/2 quarts
- 1 medium head cabbage (2-2 1/2 pounds), cored and shredded
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- air tight containers or mason jars
- smaller jars as added weight
- beans or marbles
- Start by cleaning all of your utensils, including washing your hands thoroughly.
- Wash your cabbage to rid it of any dirt or particles. Cut cabbage in half, then into quarters: core and slice into wedges.
- Very thinly slice each wedge (across) into skinny strips; it should look like you’re making coleslaw.
- In a large bowl, combine cabbage strips and salt. Use your hands to massage and break up cabbage, and combine it with the salt. Strips should begin to wilt after 5-10 minutes as their structure breaks down. Reserve the cabbage liquid.
- Once cabbage is limp and watery, transfer to your fermenting containers, making sure container is big enough so there is extra space for the fermenting process. Pour excess liquids into storing container.
- Pack down the sauerkraut so there are no air bubbles and it is submerged in its own liquid.
- Cover cabbage with a smaller jar that’s been filled with beans or marbles for added weight. Again, this is to keep the cabbage submerged in brine.
- Place cloth over the top of mason jar and secure with twine. The beginning of the fermentation process entails that the cabbage be left uncovered; the cloth prevents bacteria and particles from landing in the jars.
- Leave uncapped mason jars at room temperature (our of direct sunlight) for at least 4 days, pressing down occasionally so cabbage stays covered by liquid.
- After four days, begin tasting sauerkraut until it is to your liking. Then remove weighted jars, cap and refrigerate for up to 6 months. Enjoy!Note: Bubbles and/or white bacteria developing on cabbage are a sign of healthy growth and can be removed without worry.
Recipe adapted from Nourished Kitchen