I used to be afraid of sauerkraut. There, I said it. For years, I would see recipes or watch friends fermenting and making kraut and kimchi on Instagram, but it really intimidated me.
Then my friend Trisha took me under her wing and taught me step by step how to make sauerkraut. You can watch us making sauerkraut together here.
I’m pleased to report that my sauerkraut turned out delicious. It’s a new taste and texture for my kids and so they are a little unsure, but everyone has tried it and Josh really loved it. I’ll definitely be making a lot of sauerkraut when we harvest the cabbage.
What is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is a type of fermented food that has been around for centuries. It is made by chopping cabbage into thin slices, then mixing it with salt and allowing it to ferment for several days or weeks.
During the fermentation process, natural bacteria feed on the sugars in the cabbage, producing lactic acid, which gives the sauerkraut its distinctive sour flavor. Sauerkraut is not only delicious but also a healthy food, rich in probiotics and vitamin C.
How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut
Making homemade sauerkraut is surprisingly easy and requires only a few ingredients and basic equipment. The first step is to gather the ingredients:
- sea salt,
- any other seasonings or vegetables you want to add, such as carrots, garlic, or ginger.
You will also need a few supplies:
- a large bowl
- a mandolin slicer, food processor, or sharp knife
- a jar, crock, or fermentation vessel
- a weight to keep the cabbage submerged in the brine.
To begin, remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and slice it into thin shreds. In a large bowl, sprinkle salt over the cabbage and knead it with your hands for a few minutes until it begins to release its liquid. You can also add any additional seasonings or vegetables at this point.
Next, pack the cabbage mixture into your fermentation vessel, making sure to press it down tightly so that the brine covers the cabbage.
Place a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in the brine, then cover the vessel with a lid or cloth to keep out dust and insects.
Store the sauerkraut at room temperature for at least a week or two, checking it periodically to make sure it is still submerged in the brine.
After a week or two, your homemade sauerkraut should be ready to eat. It will be tangy and slightly crunchy, with a unique flavor that is much different from store-bought sauerkraut.
You can store your sauerkraut in the refrigerator for several months, or even longer if you choose to can it.
One of the advantages of making homemade sauerkraut is that you can customize it to your liking. You can experiment with different types of cabbage, add other vegetables or seasonings, or adjust the salt content to suit your taste.
Sauerkraut is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes, from salads to sandwiches to stews. It’s also great with pinto beans or on top of hot dogs.
FAQs About Sauerkraut:
Q: How long does it take to make sauerkraut?
A: Sauerkraut typically takes one to two weeks to ferment, depending on the temperature and other factors.
Q: Is sauerkraut good for you?
A: Yes, sauerkraut is a healthy food that is rich in probiotics and vitamin C. It may also have other health benefits, such as improving digestion and boosting the immune system.
Q: Can I use a mason jar to ferment sauerkraut?
A: Yes, a mason jar can be used to ferment sauerkraut, but it is important to make sure the cabbage is submerged in the brine and that the jar is not completely sealed to allow gas to escape during fermentation.
Q: How long does homemade sauerkraut last?
A: Homemade sauerkraut can last for several months in the refrigerator or even longer if you choose to can it. However, it is important to store it properly to prevent spoilage.