Sauerkraut is an easy, healthy fermentation product – a good place to start if its your first time making fermented vegetables. All you need to do is combine shredded cabbage with some salt and, to make it really healthy for your gut, some pro-biotic bacteria and pack it into a crock. The cabbage releases liquid, creating its own brining solution. Submerged in this liquid for a period of several days or weeks, the cabbage slowly ferments into the crunchy, sour condiment we know and love as sauerkraut. Add some cumin for added flavour.
Cleaning: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Clean the crock, knife and wooden board for cutting with the HD013 iodine detergent and rinse off thoroughly. Make sure the crock is rinsed of all detergent residue. You’ll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
Slicing:Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
Salting: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first it might not seem like enough salt, but gradually the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you’d like to flavour your sauerkraut with cumin seeds, mix them in now.
Packing: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the crock. Tamp down the cabbage in the crock with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the crock. Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid. Place the weight on the cabbage. Make sure the liquid is over the weight and the crock jar is 3/4 full. Place some oil in the groove of the crock. Put the lid on and do not remove it for the next 5 days. The oil allows the carbon dioxide to escape but no oxygen to enter as the fermentation process is anaerobic.
Fermenting: Leave to ferment for 7-10 days in summer and 12-14 days in winter. Do not open the lid for the first 5 days. Do clean all utensils to test the sauerkraut. Do not touch the brine with fingers, or lick the spoon.
Storage: When ready scoop into a well cleaned glass jar. Refrigerate. Enjoy.