Eating sauerkraut is definitely one of my “tricks” to help strengthen my immune system. You get used to the slightly sauer taste of sauerkraut very quickly. Personally I start missing it after just a few days of abstention!
Sauerkraut is best eaten as a side dish or mixed into your salads – at least 1 large tablespoon per person. It comes with a warning – this is a very powerful concoction thanks to its powerful probiotics, so as with any supplement, I recommend you insert it gradually to your diet.
Makes about 2 one litre jars.
- 2 large heads of cabbage, thinly sliced (reserve 2 whole leaves for the rest) – red or white
- 1 grated carrot (optional)
- 3-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large handful of chopped fresh dill or 1 or 2 tablespoons of dried dill
- 1 large cucumber, sliced (or 1 apple, cubed)
- 3 tablespoons of sea salt.
- Optional: ¼ sachet of yeast from Red 23 for the proliferation of a wider variety of probiotic (a real “Chinese army” that will help your immune system fight against any infection or virus)
Do not avoid sea salt; it’s full of goodness and trace elements plus that is the magic ingredient that will make your sauerkraut crunchy.
- Put the thinly sliced cabbage in a large bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well; literally massage the mixture for 5 minutes with clean hands. Thanks to the salt, you will see a lot of juice come out of the mix.
- Transfer to 1 or 2 glass jars (Le Parfait or Mason); press firmly so that the brine is at least 2 cm above the level of the vegetables. If it is not, add more brine or filtered water.
- Cover the vegetables with 1 or 2 large cabbage leaves reserved earlier on. Close the jar(s).
- Allow to ferment at ambient temperature of about 60-70 ° C preferably for 3 to 5 days depending on the room temperature. Every day open the jar for a few seconds to release the pressure. You will see beautiful bubbles form on the surface of cabbage – that’s exciting because it’s the bacteria producing the lactic acid you want! If necessary, immerse cabbage under the brine with a wooden spoon.
- Once fermentation is complete, put the jars in the fridge.
Sauerkraut continues to develop as it ages (like a good wine!) and you can eat it up to 9-12 months after refrigeration.
So many permutations are possible. The white and the red cabbage ones are my favourites but I also adore other crunchy vegetables like beetroot, fennel and cauliflower for example. You can ferment cherry tomatoes too but I don’t like soft veggies as ferments personally because I like them to be crunchy. You can also play with different herbs and seeds like coriander or parsley, rosemary or mustard / fennel seeds. Using extra herbs and even fruit (apple cubes or sliced lemons for example) gives the bacteria extra food (that’s why they are classed as prebiotic).
Play around and have fun!
Check out my fermenting hero Donna Schwenk’s videos – you will become addicted too!