Homemade Sauerkraut <3 Olivia
Sauerkraut is delicious, especially with a roasted bratwurst or some potatoes. It is easy to make at home and very good for you- cruciferous vegetable + probiotics from the fermentation process. Cabbage is also very cheap, and all you really need is a mason jar, cabbage and pickling salt/Kosher salt, but I have added some extras that are optional.
– 2-3 cabbage heads (I used green, but purple would be pretty)
– 1 reserved cabbage leaf
– 2-3 tablespoons canning salt (or Kosher salt– tbs per head)
– 2-4 carrots
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1. Slice the cabbage into very thin slices, as thin as you can get. Then chop the slivers into small pieces, it is up to you how finely shredded/soft you want your kraut- a mandolin would be very useful but I just used a sharp knife. Place sliced cabbage in a large mixing bowl.
2. Peel the entire carrot, so you are left with thin ribbons, and cut the ribbons into shorter pieces or chop finely, again it is up to you, I chose to have my kraut crunchy. Place carrots in bowl with the cabbage.
3. Chop the garlic and place in mixing bowl.
4. Add the seeds and salt into the same bowl. Now you massage the salt into the cabbage. You could use a mixing spoon but I used my hands and I think it sped up the process. Squish the cabbage as you mix in the salt (it sounds sort of weird..) a brine will quickly begin to develop as the cabbage releases water. Continue this process until a large amount of brine has collected, enough to cover the cabbage entirely with liquid when it is pressed firmly against the bottom of the bowl. The idea here is to get enough brine to cover the top of the kraut as it ages in your glass jar.
5. Once the brine has formed and the cabbage is ready, place the kraut into your mason jar (mine was 16 oz. and this recipe filled it up perfectly using 2 heads). As you fill the jar continually press down the kraut so it is tightly packed. Once your jar is full give the kraut one good press so that all the air is released and the brine covers the kraut by 1/2 inch or more. I place one, small, full cabbage leaf on the top layer to create a seal between kraut and liquid.
6. Tightly close the sealed lid to your jar. Store the Kraut on your counter away from direct sunlight for 2-8 weeks, depending on how pickled you want it. I have had my kraut at 2, 3, and 5 weeks- delicious every time. Once the waiting process is over, eat!
**It is important to open your jar for a few minutes every 2-3 days to allow gases to release. I waited too long once and I had a little kraut explosion**