Sauerkraut is an amazing probiotic food made by lactic fermentation of cabbage. Raw, unpasteurised sauerkraut is teeming with beneficial lactobacillus bacteria which increase the healthy flora in the intestinal tract. This helps the immune system fight infection, and aids digestion, hence sauerkraut’s reputation as a remedy for upset stomach and constipation. In addition to this, sauerkraut contains high levels of dietary fibre, as well as significant levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and various B vitamins. Furthermore, it is a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium, and calcium.
The necessary bacteria and yeasts are naturally present on cabbage leaves. Apart from salt, which starts the process, no other ingredients are required. This recipe is so simple and after about 4 weeks you will be rewarded with a lovely pot of sauerkraut. Once the kraut has fermented, you can store it in the fridge or somewhere cold, for up to a year. I like to add a couple of aromatic spices to my recipe, juniper berries and caraway seeds, but if you aren’t a fan of these two spices then by all means omit them.
For this recipe, you will need 1 large ceramic pot (or a Kilner jar), heavy weights and muslin cloth
- 1 white cabbage
- 2 tbsp of sea salt
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 5 juniper berries
- Trim, core and finely shred the cabbage and then mix it with the salt in a large bowl. Start to squeeze the cabbage with your hands. This breaks up the cellular structure of the cabbage and helps it to start fermenting quicker
- Transfer the cabbage to your pot, jar or bowl and add the spices between the layers of shredded cabbage
- Lay a whole cabbage leaf on top of the shredded cabbage and pack it down as tight as you can
- Sit a weight on top of the cabbage and then cover the crock with the sheet of muslin or a lid if you have one – but NOT an airtight lid
- Allow it to ferment for 3 to 4 weeks, checking it periodically; if the cabbage is not submerged under liquid, add a little salt water to the pot – the cabbage must be submerged under liquid for the recipe to work
- If any scum appears on top of your sauerkraut, just skim it off
- When the sauerkraut has collapsed and has become soft, decant it into clean jars and keep in a cool place for up to a year