First off I have to admit to being a bit of a foodie and I love Sauerkraut but getting naturally fermented sauerkraut here in the UK in my experience impossible and if you can it tends to be expensive. So I went and had a look on YouTube for some instructions on how to do it, and my first efforts worked well. I’ve just made another batch and took pictures as I was doing it. So this is a how to show on making Sauerkraut.
Just to say that this is about making basic sauerkraut but you can add additional flavours with garlic, other veg and spices. At some point I will try chilli but this week I want the clean taste of a basic sauerkraut.
I use a large white cabbage which you need to strip any outer leaves that are blemished or dirty then quarter and cut out the hard core. Now before shredding weigh the cabbage as you need this to work out how much salt you will add for each Kilo of cabbage and other vegetables, if using. You need 20 grammes of salt, nothing fancy but use one without any any additives, just pure salt, I used a rock salt which cost £1.35 for 350g. You're basically after 2% salt to weight of Cabbage and anything else you are fermenting.
It’s also an idea to have about 100mls of a 2% brine to top up if needed to cover the veg in the jar if there is not quite enough liquid made during mashing.
Shred the cabbage and put into a large bowl with the salt, now the fun bit starts. You need to get your hands in and start to crush the salt covered shredded cabbage to start drawing out the moisture, this will take several minutes or longer depending on quantity, but you will feel the texture changing and the liquid starting to be drawn out quite soon after starting. Continue this process until the cabbage seems to have shrunk by about half and there is also a juice in the bottom of the bowl. You can cheat and do this for a few minutes then cover with food wrap and leave for up to an hour and the salt will have done some of the work for you, but you need to give it a good 5 minutes to start before you do this, and you may have to do a little more mashing before transferring to a jar.
At this stage find a jar or jars, large enough to hold all the cabbage with a little to spare, you can sterilise if you wish but a good clean in hot soapy water then rinsed and allowed to dry is sufficient as the salt kills and bad bacteria and encourages to good bacteria to grow. Put all your salted and mashed cabbage mix in the jar/jars well packed down with the juice ensuring that the juice is covering the cabbage by about 1cm (this is where the extra saline solution comes in if you don’t quite have enough.
Now put your lid on but not overly tight as this is a fermented product and if there is nowhere for the gas to go then you could have a pressure explosion in your cupboard (some people use wine makers fermenting valves but this is a little overkill and more cost than needed).
Tuck the jar away in a storage place that’s about room temp and leave for several days checking every so often to see how it is. If the brine has evaporated you may need to top up slightly. After about a week you should have sauerkraut, give it a try, if its sour enough this is when you take it and put in the fridge or cold cellar/garage to stop the fermenting. All you have to do now is start eating, oh, and make your next batch ready for when that’s gone.