Sauerkraut is a staple in our kitchen. And organic, raw kraut can be expensive at the store. This easy recipe shows you how to make inexpensive, real sauerkraut that you and your family can enjoy. I’ve experimented with lots of different ingredients and have settled on this basic combo as our “usual” kraut. I like green cabbage better than red. No particular reason. Just feel my kraut tastes better. The ginger is a nice touch, and it also helps with digestion. I think I add the carrots because I like a little color in my kraut. It does add a titch of sweetness. We go through kraut quickly at our house, so I usually double the recipe. Lately I have been adding a bit of caraway seeds to my kraut which is so delicious.
Fermentation times vary depending on your taste preference and the temperature inside your house. I like to ferment kraut for at least 4-5 weeks, sometime longer. The most important thing is to use a completely airtight fermentation vessel. The good bacteria needs a totally oxygen-free environment to thrive. This way it will not spoil. Also, be sure to cover your fermentation vessel to block out any light as light inhibits the good bacteria from growing. You can read more about that HERE.
The only thing that you need to add to your vegetable is sea salt. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. I use an unrefined sea salt when fermenting veggies.
Store in fridge after fermentation. I have stored mine up to 6 months without it spoiling, but it usually doesn’t last that long around here. Would love to hear how it goes if you try this recipe.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
I have been fermenting foods for years now and have found that the best and most consistent results come from a closed-system fermentation system that keeps oxygen out but allows CO2 to be released.
I have experimented with fermentation crocks and mason jars with air-locks but have found my results to be inconsistent. This mainly has to do with the fact that neither of these systems is completely air-tight, leaving my ferments open to oxygen, molds, and bacteria in the environment.
So what do I use?
I have found that the best ferments come from a completely air-tight system. And the best one that I have found comes from Pickl-It.com.
They have a wide variety of sizes to choose from. I have the large 5 Liter jar for making sauerkraut. I also have several 1 Liter jars for making smaller condiments and for storing my krauts in the fridge. They are easy to use, completely air-tight, and come fitted with an airlock.
The airlocks allow for the CO2 created by the fermentation to be released but keeps oxygen out. This keeps the lactic-acid bacteria happy and healthy.
You can check them out HERE.
Use Coupon Code : KATJASALT to get a FREE 1/2 pound bag of premium sea salt with your Pickl-It order. ***Minimum purchase $50 and must contain jar(s) either singles or doubles. Please add the 1/2 lb bag of salt to the cart in order to receive free bag.
To read more about the benefits of fermented foods, check out Fermented Foods 101
- 1 and ½ medium green cabbage (yes, that's one cabbage and half of another. This is the amount that fits in a 1.5 - 2 liter fermentation jar))
- 3 carrots
- 1-2 TBS grated fresh ginger, depending how gingery you want it
- 1½ TBS sea salt (like this)
- Carefully clean all equipment to be used. You can pour boiling water into glass jars or place dry jars in oven at 200 'F for 10 minutes to sterilize. Place lids and utensils into large glass bowl and pour boiling water over them.
- Shred cabbage in food processor or cut by hand into thin shreds with a sharp knife. Place into large glass bowl. (save a couple of the big outer leaves to cover kraut in the end)
- Shred carrots and add to cabbage, along with grated ginger.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and mix well.
- Pack mixture into large glass jar or crock. Press firmly down to release juices.
- Cover the mixture with a couple of outer cabbage leaves. This will help prevent the cabbage from floating above the liquid. Place airtight lid on jar that is fitted with an airlock. Cover to block out light.
- If after 24 hours, the liquid that is released does not cover the top of the kraut, make a brine and pour it over the kraut until it is covered.
- Allow to sit, covered except for the airlock, for 4-6 week.
- Store in fridge after it is done