I love sauerkraut. Love it. And it is super low in calories. I wanted to see how hard it would be to make it myself, and guess what? It’s NOT!
It is a little bit time consuming, I mean there is some massaging involved. Of a weird kind, but hey, a massage none the less…so let’s get started.
What you need:
- 8 Cups of finely shredded cabbage (I mixed purple and green, because that is what I had on hand. It all went purple by the time I was done)
- 1 large leaf off the cabbage to place on top of jar when you are done
- 1 tablespoon coarse or kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of red wine (optional) I felt like I need a bit more brine so I topped it up with the wine.
- 1 litre sized jar or large mason jar
What you do:
Wash and drain the cabbage well. Cut off any outer leaves that don’t look good. Cut off and save one of the nicer looking outer leaves and put it to one side. After you’ve made and packed all the sauerkraut in the jar, you’ll fold up this leaf and put it on top to help press down the cabbage to keep it under the brine.
Chop up your cabbage. I did mine by hand, but if you have a food processor or mandolin those would be awesome tools to use, you want the cabbage to be sliced very finely.
*And let me just say now, that if you are using the purple cabbage, have a lemon on hand to get the purple off of your hands with when you are done, they will be slightly stained. The lemon totally takes this off.
So now get a very large bowl to put your cabbage in, probably about 5 times bigger than you think you need :) It’s good to have lots of room when you are massaging.
Place chopped cabbage and tablespoon of salt in your really big bowl.
This is not a slow job, it took me over half an hour to massage enough liquid out of the cabbage to cover the jar full. I had to change hands halfway through, it is like a small wrist workout at the same time. It totally counts.
Once you have enough juice…I just eyeballed how much I thought I would need, I probably had nearly a cup of liquid.
The juice will dissolve the salt, which will in turn draw more juice out of the cabbage. That’s exactly what we want.
Don’t drain the juice off.
It’s the brine that will allow the cabbage to ferment without going ‘off’. You’ll also notice that the volume of cabbage gets smaller as you massage it.
You want to keep massaging until the volume of the cabbage is reduced by about half. If you used coarse sea salt, it should all be dissolved.
Now it is time to pack your jar, the Sauerkraut will ferment right in the jar!!! Take a few handfuls of your now soft cabbage, and press it firmly in the bottom of the jar, make sure there is no room for air bubbles, pour a little brine in, keep doing this until jar is full.
Like I said, I felt like I didn’t quite have enough brine so I put a shot of red wine in to top it up.
It is important that the cabbage stay under the brine in order for it to ferment properly.
At this point you want to take your whole leaf of cabbage that you saved at the beginning and give it a fold and cover cabbage in jar with leaf, you want to use it almost as a lid in your jar, it will insure that the cabbage stays in the brine.
Put the lid on the jar, and leave it out at room temperature for about 4 days. Your fermentation time may vary depending on the temperature and how fermented you like your sauerkraut.
Make sure you keep it out of the direct sunlight.
Take off the lid once a day to release any gas that may build up from the fermentation process.
You’ll notice the color of the cabbage has changed after massaging it, and it will keep changing over the next few days as it ferments, mine was a beautiful purple color when I was done, any sign of the green cabbage long gone.
Do a taste test starting at day 3, and then daily after that. Once the sauerkraut gets to the point that you like it, put it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process.
Rumor has it that the longer it sits the better it gets. My problem will be that it won’t sit, it will be long gone :)
Let me know how it turns out or if you have any handy tips for me!!
Live healthy :)