If you’re just getting into fermented foods for the healthy pro-biotics, a simple fermented sauerkraut made with cabbage is the place to start. It is very easy to do, though there is a waiting time for the fermentation to take place. As with all fermented foods, it’s more about the technique than the actual “recipe”.
- 1 head of cabbage (green or red)
- 3 tsp sea salt
Make sure you use sea salt. Table salt has iodine in it which can give your final product an off-taste and it will interfere with the fermenting. Any non-iodized salt is fine if you can’t literally get sea salt.
First, you are going to need a large crock or glass jar (no metal pots!). You also need a plate or lid that will fit inside the top of the container to hold down the cabbage once it’s inside. A rock or smaller container filled with water will also be needed to add some weight to the top of the plate.
Now, you can actually get started with your sauerkraut. Shred or grate your cabbage, adding a handful or so into your jar along with a sprinkling of salt. Use a meat tenderizer to give it a bit of a pounding each time. Your jar should be large enough so the entire batch of shredded cabbage fills it no more than an inch from the top.
Once you’ve salted and crushed the cabbage, it should have release a fair bit of liquid. If there isn’t enough to actually cover the cabbage, add some brine (about 1/2 tbs of salt in a cup of water should be enough). Pour over your cabbage so that it is completely submerged in salty water. Now set the plate on top, with a weight of some kind to keep everything underwater.
Cover your whole jar with a towel to keep out dust and flies. Keep it somewhere undisturbed and warm, and keep an eye on it to make sure the cabbage stays under the brine. After about 7 to 10 days, it should be ready for a taste test. If the tartness is to your liking, move your new sauerkraut to the fridge, and enjoy.
This recipe will make about a quart of fermented sauerkraut.