Many people think Sauerkraut is from Germany, when in fact, although it’s been a major part of German cuisine for a long time that it actually came from China (where it was originally fermented with rice wine instead of salt & water) and then found its way to other Eastern European countries before settling in Germany too. It is believed that sauerkraut is one of the oldest ways to preserve vegetables and has been documented as far back as 400 B.C.
Basic Sauerkraut Recipe
1 medium cabbage
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. caraway, coriander, fenugreek, or fennel seeds
3 tbsp. grated ginger (I highly recommend this addition)
200 – 300g grated carrot
- Remove outer leaves from the cabbage and set them aside.
- Shred cabbage. I like to use the grating option of my food processor for this, but you can also cut with a knife very thinly.
- Shred carrots and ginger (if you’re adding these).
- In a bowl, mix the shredded items with seeds (if you’re adding these) and sea salt, then massage/squeeze or pound down with a mallet, kraut pounder, the end of a rolling pin or your hands for 10 minutes.
- Once the juices have been released, place into a wide-mouthed jar and continue to pound down until juices come up and cover the vegetables. (If this does not happen, then add a little fresh water until it covers the cabbage well.) Leave at least 2 inches at the top with nothing in.
- Place a whole cabbage leaf over the top of the vegetables (and under the juice/brine), making sure no air can get to the vegetable’s underneath. If you have no cabbage leaf left, then use wax paper, a boiled stone, a sterile weight of some sort or even a bag of salted water (the salt is there in case the bag splits) to weigh it all down.
Store away from direct sunlight, in a place not to hot or not too cold, on a plate or saucer (in case of leaks if you have overfilled), with the lid loss or remember to burp daily. Leave for at least a week, but preferably 2 – 4 weeks.
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