Sauerkraut is one of the best known fermented vegetables and one of my favourite sources of healing foods. It has been around for thousands of years and primarily consists of shredded cabbage and salt. Fermented vegetables and fruits provide huge amounts of beneficial bacteria for our guts and the naturally occurring lactic forming bacteria present on the skins of all fruit and vegetables transforms into a powerhouse of enzyme rich, nutrient and vitamin potent prebiotic during the fermentation process. This aids in the digestion of the food we eat and helps balance our precious microbiome. When making sauerkraut it is important to use organic spray free fruits and vegetables. Simply shred a whole cabbage and salt generously. Squeeze the cabbage into a large crock pot or small individual jars, then leave to lacto-ferment for 3-4 weeks. You only need a small amount of sauerkraut with each meal as it is a digestive aid, and initially it is best to introduce a small quantity to your diet (1 teaspoon per day, gradually more). Like all thing’s fermentation, sauerkraut is a wonderful blend of science working with nature. All you really need to do is be patient, present, and nurturing. Then you will enjoy an abundance of good health and great tasting food.

How to make basic sauerkraut at home.

You will need

  • Cabbage – red or green round drum.
  • Quality salt, (not table salt) 30gm of salt to 1kg veg.
  • Any flavours you like – carraway seeds, dill, brown mustard seeds.

What to do

  1. Chop the cabbage, remove the core, then finely shred it. (keep a couple of leaves spare to cover your sauerkraut in the jars)
  2. Put the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes to soften a little. This makes it easier to squeeze out the juices.
  3. After 30 minutes, start squeezing with your hands. You will notice the cabbage becoming softer and lots of juice is released.
  4. Another option is to pound it with the end of a wooden rolling pin. Whatever works for you, as long as the cabbage is softened, and juices are released.
  5. Once you feel your cabbage is soft and enough juice is released, then add your flavours.
  6. Now it’s time to bottle your kraut.
  7. I like to divide mine up into individual jars. Start to push the cabbage into the jar, pressing it down and packing it as tight as possible. This is very important to have it packed in tightly for the fermentation to work.
  8. Once the jars are filled with cabbage, take a piece of extra leaf and cover over the top. Top up with the extra juice ensuring the leaf and your cabbage is completely submerged in juice. This is very important as the leaf protects the kraut underneath from getting exposed to air and stopping any mould growing.
  9. You can weigh the leaf down with a clean stone or fermenting weight. Otherwise, every day for 4-5 days, you must check your kraut and press the leaf down to keep it submerged. (Due to the lacto-fermentation process, your sauerkraut gets bubbly and rises up in the jar.)
  10. Cover your jars with a doubled over square piece of paper towel or muslin cloth and secure with a rubber band.
  11. Set on your bench away from direct sunlight or in your pantry for one week in the cooler months and 4-5 days in warmer months.
  12. After this time, remove the top leaf and taste your sauerkraut. If you are happy with it, secure the lid to the jar and return it to the pantry for 3-4 weeks to continue to ferment. Once a week “burp” your jars (but don’t open completely) to release the gas that has built up during the fermentation and secure again.
  13. After 3-4 weeks, store your jars in the fridge.
  14. Enjoy your sauerkraut daily with your favourite meal.