All you need to know to make the classic german fermented cabbage at home.This sauerkraut recipe, however, is nothing like that. It’s homemade from scratch with simple ingredients it’s super easy to master the technique Shall we?
NOTE : korean kimchi may be grabbing all the good publicity at the moment, but German sauerkraut, or choucroute as it’s known across the border in the French Alsace, is another fermented cabbage product that’s worthy of your attention. Like kimchi, it should ideally be consumed while still live, rather than pasteurised, which is much easier if you make it yourself.
How to make classic homemade sauerkraut !All you need to know to make the classic german fermented cabbage at home.This sauerkraut recipe, however, is nothing like that. It’s homemade from scratch with simple ingredients it’s super easy to master the technique Shall we?
- 1 medium white cabbage (about 1kg) in my case I used the white cabbage that does not mean that the other types of cabbage will not be of the same taste there is the same possibility of mixing them all like (red cabbage, green, or savoy and kale a bit limp for the purposeI think the sweeter red version is particularly good in a kraut flavoured with juniper berries.)
- 2 tbsp fine salt plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp Vinegar
- 1 tsp juniper berries or caraway seeds
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger optional
- everything is sterilized to allow for proper fermentation. Do so easily by pouring boiling water over clean jars and lids and drying completely. Let come back to room temperature before adding ingredients.
- Shred the cabbage : Pull off one outer leaf and set aside, then cut the cabbage into quarters and trim off the base from each wedge. Resting each quarter on a flat side, finely shred the cabbage into thin strips, clean outer leaves, core and all – a mandoline would be handy here, but a food processor tends to be too violent, because it bruises the leaves as it shreds them, so it’s worth doing it by hand for the best texture.
- Massage salt into the cabbage: Put the shredded cabbage in a very large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss well to distribute it fairly evenly, then begin vigorously massaging the salt into the leaves with your fingertips, almost as if you’re rubbing fat into flour to make pastry. Really give it some welly.
- Then massage it some more : After a few minutes, the cabbage should start to weep. Keep going until there’s a significant amount of liquid when you press it down, which should take about 10-15 minutes in total.If you’re really trying hard and not getting anywhere, you can add a little more salt, but that will, of course, make the end result saltier, so I’d counsel patience instead.
- Pack into a large jar : Transfer the cabbage and the liquid it has released into a large, clean fermenting vessel – crocks are readily available in kitchen shops and online, but you can certainly use a large glass jar, if that’s all you have. Just avoid anything metal, unless it’s specifically designed for the purpose. Pack the cabbage right down as you push it into the jar; it needs to be submerged in the liquid.
- Add the spices and/or other flavourings : At this point, add any extra flavourings: lightly bruised dried juniper berries, or caraway or yellow mustard seeds are classic choices, but you could also go for thinly sliced lemon peel, chopped dill, or other veg or fruit such as grated carrot, celeriac, apple, beetroot. Whatever you decide to use, cabbage should make up at least three-quarters of the final mix.
- Weigh down the sauerkraut : Weigh down the cabbage so it’s completely covered by the liquid; most fermenting crocks come with weights for this purpose, but you could use the reserved outer cabbage leaf held down by a large, clean stone or a sterilised jar full of water and of an appropriate size to fit into the larger vessel.
- Cover and leave to ferment : Cover with the lid, if using a purpose-made crock, or a clean tea-towel (the kraut needs to breathe) and leave in a cool, well-ventilated spot for between five days and five weeks, depending on how sour you want it. Keep an eye on it, to check the cabbage is still covered by liquid, and taste it occasionally to check on its progress.
- Seal, then store or serve : Once the sauerkraut is sour enough for your liking, remove the weights, seal the jar, and refrigerate or store in a cool place. (If you find it suddenly too sour, rinse with cold water before consumption, to tone down the flavour.) Eat cold as a pickle, or warm up and eat as a side dish: it’s particularly delicious with cured meat or fish, or with creamy sauces.
What Can Go Wrong?Not much! You may see bubbles, foam, or white scum on the surface of the sauerkraut, but these are all signs of normal, healthy fermentation. The white scum can be skimmed off as you see it or before refrigerating the sauerkraut. If you get a very active fermentation or if your mason jar is very full, the brine can sometimes bubble up over the top of the jar. This is part of the reason why I recommend using a larger mason jar than is really necessary to hold the cabbage. If you do get a bubble-up, it’s nothing to worry about — just place a plate below the jar to catch the drips and make sure the cabbage continues to be covered by the brine.It is possible you might find mold growing on the surface of the sauerkraut, but don’t panic! Mold typically forms only when the cabbage isn’t fully submerged or if it’s too hot in your kitchen. The sauerkraut is still fine (it’s still preserved by the lactic acid) — you can scoop off the mold and proceed with fermentation. This said, it’s still important to use your best judgement when fermenting. If something smells or tastes moldy or unappetizing, trust your senses and toss the batch.