Home-made Sauerkraut has a crunch and a pleasing, mild acidity that is very much superior to the shop bought versions.
- 1 large white cabbage, approx. 1 kilo
- Fine sea or cooking salt, approx. 25g – see tips
- Clean and dry a 1.4 litre Lakeland Fermentation Jar
- Slice the cabbage into quarters and then remove and discard the core. Slice each quarter as thinly as you can, transferring the slices to a large ceramic or stainless steel bowl. Weigh the cabbage and sprinkle over the salt – for a kilo of prepared cabbage you will need 25g salt. Toss the salt and cabbage together until the cabbage begins to feel damp. Transfer the cabbage to the jars a handful at a time, pressing each layer down firmly. Leave a gap at the top big enough for a ramekin (see next step).
- Fill a ramekin with ceramic baking beans and wrap with cling film, then place on top of your cabbage in the jar – this will keep the cabbage submerged in the brine which is produced. Put the lid on and depress the silicone stopper to form an airtight seal – the one-way valve in the lid will allow excess gas to escape and stop oxygen getting in. Store in a warm place – around 21°C/70°F is perfect.
- The next day, remove the ramekin and examine your kraut. If it has not yet produced enough brine to cover all the cabbage, top up with a little home-made brine. To make the brine, mix 1 litre of hot water with 1½ tbsp salt, and leave to cool before using.
- After 8 days the sauerkraut should be ready. Taste it, and for a stronger flavour, leave it a further four or five days. When it tastes how you like it, store it in the fridge – it should keep well for a month.
- Choose large, fresh cabbages – the common Dutch white works very well.
- Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible in order to allow the salt to draw the brine and work quickly.
- The ratio of salt to cabbage is crucial to your success – too little and you won’t preserve your kraut – too much and the fermentation will be inhibited. Every 1 kilo of prepared cabbage requires 25g fine cooking or sea salt – don’t use coarse salt or flakes as they take too long to dissolve.