20 December 2010

EASY: Making Sauerkraut the Crabby Way.

Before I start on the kraut, remember my post about the big tin of broad beans?  We bought 8 more tins!!!!!  (Also, the giant 2600g tin of broad beans cost £1.29, not 99p like I mistakenly said before.  But still a fabulous bargain!)  Lots of delicious Ful Medames in the future!

Okay, kraut time.  My first batch, the kind I made in the same way I make kimchi, turned out splendidly (my toddler practically wresteled me for it whenever I dished some up and it's all gone now!), but I thought I'd try an easier way.

Kraut and Kimchi:  Good Friends

I've read you can make sauerkraut just by shredding cabbage, coating it in salt, and packing it into a jar.  In my experience, the cabbage doesn't make enough of it's own brine, so I top it up after letting it sit overnight.  And that's it.

Here it is in a little more detail:

  • Finely shred cabbage and its stem and coat in non-iodised salt.  (I trim the bottom of the stem and take off any gnarly-looking bits first.)  
  • Pack everything into a jar (toss in some caraway seeds or juniper berries or fresh dill if you are feeling fiesty), leaving about a half-inch gap at the top and let it sit (salt-wilt) overnight.  
  • Top up the jar with brine (1 tbsp of non-iodised salt per cup of water) the next morning, leaving about a half-inch gap at the top. (You will notice some water has leached out of the cabbage.  If you taste the water, you will notice it is nice and salty.  (You don't actually have to taste it, you can just take my word for it.))
  • Let it ferment in your refrigerator (or your kitchen if your kitchen is just as cold as your refrigerator -- mine is at the moment!!)

Pink Sauerkraut!

Recently, I've made 3 jars of sauerkraut with purple cabbage.  One of the jars has already started to ferment and it is delicious (as well as being very pretty). I added caraway seeds and a few juniper berries to the 2 other jars, which haven't fermented as much yet (this has nothing to do with the spices, I made them a few days after I made the first jar).  I'll let you know how they turn out!!

Next time, I'm going to try adding shredded carrot to my kraut.  I heard it ferments easily and tastes nice with the cabbage, so I'll let you know about that, too.

ETA:  The Scarecrow brought home some fresh dill yesterday.  I think I'll start another a batch with that and the half-cabbage I have hanging out on the cutting board.  :D


  1. Why non-iodised sale?

  2. Can you use add any other vegetables that you want? What about beets?

    Are there any "unsafe" vegetables to use in this process?

  3. Iodine can inhibit the growth of the bacteria that do the fermentation, so it is best to use a non-iodised salt. I use sea salt, but kosher salt, pickling salt, and even plain non-iodised table salt is fine (as long as it doesn't contain an anti-caking agent).

    As far as salt-fermenting other vegetables (or adding them to sauerkraut), I know that kimchi often has other vegetables in it. I can't vouch for all vegetables and I haven't tried fermenting them myself, but I have heard tales of broccoli, radishes, cucumber, turnips, and, yes, beets! I bet beet-sauerkraut would be fabulous!

    (Obviously, everything must be raw/uncooked.)

    Here are a couple interesting links:
    http://www.wildfermentation.com (It has some links and recipes. I haven't bought the book yet, but all the fermenters on the internet seem to recommend it!)

  4. Hey- saw this on the ppk! I am trying it now but so far just have a thing full of salty cabbage. It's been going for about 36 hours. Should I just be patient? I added some pre-made sauerkraut juice last night to help get it going.

  5. I'd jar up the salty cabbage (if you haven't already) and top it up with brine! My kraut usually takes a few weeks to ferment (I usually stick it in the fridge a day or two after I jar it because traditionally, pickling and krauting is done in cold cellars (or so I've been led to believe)).

  6. Thanks, that's helpful- I guess I wasn't sure if anything should be happening yet. I'll fridge it and wait!