There's nothing quite like homemade Sauerkraut. Bought stuff just doesn't cut it, especially not the supermarket kind. The rustic, farmer's market kind come's close. But homemade sauerkraut, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, fermented in a dark cupboard or corner, really is the goods.
Why? My theory is that homemade sauerkraut has a wider variety of living bacteria in it. Commercially made products need (well, they think they need) to be the same every time, so to guarantee this they inoculate their sauerkraut with genetically pure strains of lactic acid bacteria. My sauerkraut on the other hand doesn't need to be the same, so I'm fine with it having a mixture of different strains of bacteria - in fact, I welcome that as the more diversity I can get into my gut the better. I think this produces a far superior sauerkraut
- 1 Whole Cabbage (approx 2.5-3kg)
- Salt - Himalayan, Celtic Sea Salt, Murray River (1Tablespoon per 1kg of Cabbage) + 1/2-1 Tablespoon extra
- 4 medium Carrots
- 5cm knob of Ginger
- 2 tablespoons Caraway Seeds (optional)
Remove outer 4 leaves from the Cabbage, wash and set aside
Weigh cabbage to determine how much salt you will require - this is important as too little salt will result in the sauerkraut going off
Cut cabbage in half and finely shred
Grate Carrot and Ginger (or if you have a thermomix, throw in the bowl and whizz on speed 4.5-5 for about 4-5 seconds, or until finely chopped)
- In a large bowl or food grade bucket, layer 1/3 of the cabbage with 1/3 of the carrot and ginger and then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and some of the caraway seeds (if using). Massage together. Repeat with another 1/3, and then the final 1/3, remembering to sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt between each layer. Massage with hands, or use the end of a rolling pin to bring out the juices.
- Sprinkle final 1/2-1 tablespoon salt and allow to rest for a few hours.
- Sterilise jars in the oven at 120 degrees for 20mins - preferably ones with spring lids so you can release the pressure each day as they are fermenting. Boil rubber seals in water on the stove.
- Massage/beat with rolling pin again. There should be a fair amount of brine in the bottom of the bowl/bucket.
- Fill jars with Sauerkraut and press down until brine covers it completely. Use the washed reserved leaves to press the sauerkraut down beneath the brine.