Posted: 03 February '12 by Niall
The thought of a big jar of fermented cabbage mightn’t get you salivating straight away, but it’s a delicious component in a whole range of German, Polish and French dishes – it’s even an essential ingredient in authentic New York City hotdogs!
This recipe for making your own Sauerkraut should show you how easy it is – just a couple of ingredients and a bit of patience and you’ll have your own supply of the crisp and tangy condiment.
One thing that is essential is the Kosher Salt – it doesn’t contain any iodine, so the cabbage doesn’t discolour as it ferments. It was difficult to track down, but Mum managed to find the salt in Sawers, a delicatessen in Belfast city-centre – it was £3.99 for a 450g box, enough to keep you pickling for years to come.
We’ve gone for a relatively traditional recipe here, but once you’ve mastered the process you can play around with the recipe as much as you want: use red cabbage instead of white, add spices like Dill or even fresh Ginger – it’s up to you.
You can see the photos here:
- 1kg white cabbage, finely shredded or grated (I’d recommend grating)
- 10 juniper berries
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1-2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 250ml of warm water mixed with 1 tsp of salt
You’ll also need: a sterilised Mason Jar, a wooden spoon and a large glass or ceramic bowl
- In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, juniper berries, caraway, mustard seeds and salt, tossing the ingredients so the ingredients are fully mixed.
- Let the cabbage rest 10 minutes then mix again – you should notice that liquid from the cabbage is being drawn out and gathering at the bottom of the bowl.
- To sterilise the Mason Jars, wash them in very hot water and dry in a pre-heated oven on a low heat for a few minutes.
- When the jars have cooled, start packing the cabbage into the jars, using the wooden spoon to bash the cabbage down. Don’t be gentle – the bashing helps breakdown the cell-walls of the cabbage, forcing the liquid out which will help the fermentation. Keep packing until you have filled the jar, just leaving a couple of centimetres free at the top.
- If the liquid from the cabbage doesn’t cover the shredded cabbage, top the jars up with your salty water to the rim of jar and secure the lid.
- Place the jars on a tray to catch any liquid that drips out and leave them in a moderately warm room for for 2-3 weeks.
- During this time, check the jars now and again – you should see bubbles forming in the cabbage, and if the level of the liquid falls below the rim, just top the jars up with more salty water. If you notice any white spots forming on top of the Sauerkraut, don’t panic. Just take a spoon and skim them off – they’re harmless.
- Once the 2-3 weeks are up, you can use the Sauerkraut – just keep the jars in the fridge as you use them and they should last a couple of months.