Turn simple ingredients into superfoods with Dearbhla Reynolds’ fermentation recipes. Make your own Classic Sauerkraut with this recipe from Dearbhla Reynold’s new book The Cultured Club.
The simplest sauerkraut you can make is this classic kraut using a process called dry salting, were you mix salt with sliced or grated vegetables to draw their liquid out so that they create their own brine. Use kitchen scales to begin with to help you understand the correct guideline ratios of salt needed per weight of vegetables. Generally you’re aiming for a total weight of 800g of cabbage (vegetables) per one tablespoon of salt.
2 heads of red or white cabbage (or a mix of both)
2 tbsp sea salt
11/2 tbsp juniper berries
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage it and cut out the core, then shred the cabbage. I like to shred it reasonably fine. Use your food processor for this if you have one.
2 Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and add the salt, giving it a quick massage through the cabbage. Let it sit for 30–60 minutes, until it starts to sweat. Mix in the juniper berries and caraway seeds. It should be quite wet now.
3 Begin to fill your clean 2-litre jar or crock, taking a handful of cabbage at a time and pressing down very hard using your fist. With each handful you’ll notice a little more liquid seeping out.
4 Keep filling the jar until you have filled it to within 2.5cm of the top of the jar. For successful fermentation it’s crucial to keep the cabbage submerged, so place a weight on it.
5 Leave to sit for anything from one to six weeks. Taste it every few days to gauge the progress of the fermentation flavour. If you’re fermenting in an airtight jar, you will also need to ‘burp’ the jar every few days to release the build-up of carbon dioxide.
6 When you’re happy with the flavour and texture, store the jar in the fridge. The times will vary with room temperature and other factors. After a week the good bacteria are considered established and it’s good to eat, but if you want the maximum probiotics in your sauerkraut, you’ll want to let your sauerkraut ferment for up to six weeks.