Yield: 8 cups (½ cup per serving) Prep time: 18 minutes, plus up to 10 days to ferment image
If you are new to making sauerkraut, this recipe is an awesome one to start with! Because it makes a small batch, the sauerkraut ferments faster. Here are some helpful tips before you start:
• Use sea salt or a salt that does not contain iodine or anticaking agents, which can prevent fermentation.
• When making fermented foods, it’s essential to give the healthy bacteria every chance of surviving by starting off with clean equipment, so always be scrupulously clean! It’s very important to clean everything very well before you begin. (Packing jars should be sterilized in boiling water.) Make sure your hands are free from soap residue because you’ll be touching the cabbage.
• Chlorinated water can prevent fermentation, so if you’re using water to top off the jars in Step 6, be sure to use filtered, spring, or distilled water.
• If you get gas after eating cabbage, try adding caraway seeds. They help relieve gas by inhibiting its formation. Caraway seeds are very soothing to the digestive tract. The oil in caraway seeds contains antibacterial properties, which allow them to successfully expel infections from the body.
1 medium head green cabbage (3 pounds)
1½ tablespoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
Nonchlorinated water, such as filtered, spring, or distilled water (to top off the jars, if needed)
2 wide-mouth, quart-sized canning jars
Something to weight down the kraut while it ferments
- Remove and discard the wilted outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the head into quarters and discard the core. Using a large knife, slice the cabbage quarters crosswise into thin ribbons that are 2 to 3 inches long.
- Place the sliced cabbage in a very large glass mixing bowl and add the salt evenly throughout the cabbage. Use your hands to squeeze and distribute the salt into the cabbage. After a few minutes, the cabbage will become soft and a bit watery. Massage the cabbage for about 10 minutes. Add the caraway seeds, if using, and mix them in well.
- Stuff the cabbage into two sterile 1-quart wide-mouth mason jars, packing it in tightly. Pour the liquid remaining in the bowl into the jars.
- Place a clean weight on top of the cabbage to make sure the cabbage remains submerged in the liquid. I place a very clean metal measuring cup into the mouth of the mason jar and weight it down with clean rocks (from our rock polisher).
- Place a cheesecloth or other clean thin cloth over the mouth of the jar and tie it with a string so air can flow in but the sauerkraut stays clean.
- Over the next day or two, the cabbage will continue to release liquid. Press the measuring cup into the cabbage every few hours to make sure the cabbage remains submerged. If, after 24 hours, the cabbage has risen above the liquid and hasn’t generated enough liquid of its own to cover the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and pour in just enough to submerge the cabbage.
- Now the fermenting begins. This takes 3 to 10 days. Keep the jars in a cool, dark room (65°F to 75°F), away from sunlight. Check it every day and press the cabbage down if it is floating above the liquid.
- After 3 days, taste your creation. When it tastes good to you, remove the cheesecloth and the object you used to weight down the cabbage. Seal with an airtight cover and store in the refrigerator. If you prefer a stronger fermented taste, keep fermenting until you have your desired taste. You may notice bubbles and cloudiness in your sauerkraut during fermenting. This is the good bacteria you want for a healthy gut flora.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.