Simple Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe by Jeremy Quah
“Fermentation is everywhere, always. It is an everyday miracle, the path of least resistance. ” – Sandor Katz
What are you doing during the lockdown these few days? Do you feel restless and try to keep yourself busy? Well, it is a good timing to do fermentation at home now. Now, let's start with a simple and common fermented food: - sauerkraut.
- 1 kg English cabbage
- 1 tbsp (20g, 2%) sea salt
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
For sauerkraut, you generally need only cabbage (not lettuce), salt (coarse or fine doesn't matter but fine won't have the risk of cutting you during crushing). Any utensils and bottles used to produce and store the sauerkraut should also be sterilized with boiling water.
All bottles used must be airtight but not too tight that air has no way to escape. Metal lids generally reserved for food is highly recommended as the lid has a pressure point to allow you to check if fermentation is occurring, if the lid can be easily pressed then something is wrong.
To begin peel off a few layers while checking for debris or insects, keep the leaves for later. You are to then slice the cabbage and discard the root in the process. Thick or fine cuts matter little but finer pieces are easier to crush.
After slicing the cabbage, put in some salt and sea mineral. The amount is variable with some as little as one tablespoon or as much as two tablespoons per kilo of cabbage. Crush and press the sauerkraut, this process only has to take as long as it has for water to appear. If the cabbage is fresh there should be sufficient water on its own without the need to add any more.
The result is to be stored in airtight bottles sterilized beforehand with boiling water. Once done store the sauerkraut in a warm location without direct sunlight. Preferably somewhere public and visible to ensure you didn't forget.
Question: How long to ferment sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut can ferment for months but the very least should take three weeks for optimum results. Refridgeration is only required when opened and can be kept for many months this way.
The lactobasillus mesenteroides do most of their work in the first 3 days giving flavour to the sauerkraut.
The lactobacillus plantarum (great for mood balancing) does most of the work for the longest time period, from day 3 to day 16. Its job is to consume sugar and produce lactic acid, which acts as a preservative, supports digestion, inhibits growth of harmful bacteria, increases the bio-availability of Vitamin C.
The lactobacillus pentoaceticus work on refining the sauerkraut during days 16-20 by lowering the acid level slightly more, giving a more mellow taste.