Nick Barnard’s Sauerkraut taken from EAT RIGHT Recipe
Number of servings6 to 8 servings
For each cabbage, halve and then remove the core, but keep it to one side as it will make a useful plug. Remove or peel the skins and outer layers from the other ingredients as necessary. Where required, top and tail and core, removing seeds if you wish.
Shred the cabbage, then chop coarsely. Chop small or finely dice all hard vegetables; there’s no exact specification to this, but the harder the vegetable, the smaller the pieces should be.
- Salt then pound, squeeze or both
Throw your vegetables and any other herbs, seeds and spices into your bowl or tub, huggermugger, salting as you go. Taste for salt. The mixture should taste salty, no more. Get your hands into the mess of vegetables, mixing it up and then pressing down with your fists, or mix with your hands to combine and then start pounding with your masher. Keep mashing and pressing; you will see the vegetables start to glisten and sweat. Keep going – you want to see a pool of vegetable-coloured water at the bottom of the vessel.
Once there’s water swimming about, start to jar the mixture. Do this by hand and press down the vegetables in layers; use your masher to help you if it will fit inside the jar. You don’t want any air in the jars, so press down hard. Once the jars are about three-quarters full, you should find that the vegetable water is rising too. This is good. You want to pack each jar with your mixture to about 2.5cm below the top of the jar and the water should submerge the contents. If it does not, pour some of the juice or some filtered water into the jar.
- Submerge and seal
You want your mixture to stay submerged but you can’t fill the jar to the brim or it might leak or, at worst, explode. This is where the cabbage cores come in useful. Cut them into suitable-sized cubes and lay one in the top of each jar. When you secure the lid the cabbage core plug will press down and submerge the contents. You can discard this plug later. Label the jars and leave them out at room temperature, on a tray, and in a cardboard box too if you’re worried about the volatility of your mixture. You can manage its fizziness by burping the jars.
For the first few days, release the build-up of carbon dioxide gas by undoing the lids, burping the
jars, and then sealing them again. Do this morning and evening. After 3 or 4 days their liveliness
will subside and you can cease burping.
- Eat and store, or store and eat
You can start eating your sauerkraut when you like, such as when it stops bubbling. If you want toslow down the fermentation and to ensure winter-long keeping, store your sauerkraut in the fridge or a similarly cold place.
Taste and enjoy your kraut as it develops, that way you will be having the benefit of not only different flavours as the sauerkraut ages and ferments, but a constantly evolving selection of lactic acid bacteria too. Long live bacterial diversity in our microbiome.