Fermentation is a completely natural biological process that is also pure genius, as it creates bio-active, medicinal foods with immune modulating and anti-inflammatory properties. Fermented fare is the ultimate synbiotic – prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic. It is rich in enzymes that help break down hard-to-digest proteins, making it perfect as a condiment with meals.
- 1kg (2 lb 3 oz / 1 medium) red or green cabbage, outer leaves removed and reserved
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
- 1 large handful dill leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, lightly toasted
- 10 juniper berries
- Cut cabbage in half, remove and discard the core.
- Thinly shred, wash and drain, then put in a large glass or ceramic bowl.
- Add the salt and massage into cabbage for 2–3 minutes to release its liquid and to soften. The salt will combine with that liquid to make a brine. Add the carrots, dill, caraway seeds and berries and toss to combine.
- Tightly pack the mixture into a sterilised 1.5 litre (6 cup) glass jar, earthenware fermentation crock-pot or specialised fermentation jar with an airtight lid.
- Pour brine over the top and firmly press down vegetables to submerge. Cover with reserved cabbage leaves.
- Weigh down mixture using a specialised ceramic weight or smaller jar filled with water to keep the contents submerged (if you are using a jar with an airtight lid, there’s no need).
- Ensure there is a 5cm (2 in) gap between cabbage and the top of the jar to allow for extra liquid released during fermentation. If using a glass jar, cover with a double layer of muslin cloth (cheese cloth) and secure with a rubber band. If using a crock-pot or jar, secure the lid.
- Let stand at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and in a well-ventilated place, for 1-2 weeks, or until the kraut smells and tastes sour. The length of time will vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen. During this time, if using a jar covered with muslin, check daily to ensure the vegetables are completely submerged in brine.
Sauerkraut can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a week or so to age before use. You can transfer your sauerkraut into smaller sterilised jars. Make sure to pack the jars tightly to submerge in the brine and seal with a lid. The kraut can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months – where the flavours will continue to develop.
Low FODMAP option: Enjoy sauerkraut made with red cabbage at 75g (2¾ oz) per serve.
For more gut-nourishing recipe ideas, check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide – available now.