Making homemade sauerkraut may sound intimidating, but it’s actually incredibly easy. You don’t need any canning experience, and the process is as simple as leaving the cabbage in a jar to ferment on its own.
Once it’s done, you’ve got a condiment that adds flavor to many dishes, and is also filled with gut health-boosting microbes.
- Clean and prep: Make sure to clean the environment as much as possible. Make sure your Mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all soap residue.
- Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons.
- Place all of the cabbage into a big mixing bowl and sprinkle salt over the top. Use clean hands to massage the salt into the cabbage for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the optional caraway seeds.
- Fill the large jar halfway with the cabbage. Pour any liquid left over from the mixing bowl into the jar as well.
- Once all the cabbage is packed into the Mason jar, put the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of it and weigh it down with the stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down, and submerged under its liquid as it begins to ferment.
- Cover the mouth of the Mason jar with a cloth, and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents dust or insects from getting into the jar.
- Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases more liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
- Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
- Leave the cabbage to ferment for 3 to 10 days. As it's fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature—ideally 65°F to 75°F. Make sure to check it daily and press the cabbage so that it stays submerged under the liquid.
- You can begin tasting the sauerkraut after it has been fermenting for 3 days. When the taste is to your liking, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. You can allow the sauerkraut to ferment and the taste to develop for up to 10 days before refrigerating.
- While it's fermenting, you may see bubbles, foam or white scum on top of the liquid. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. Feel free to skim it off before refrigerating if you choose. However, if there is any mold, skim it off immediately. Make sure the cabbage is fully submerged and continue the fermentation process. The rest of the sauerkraut is safe to eat.
- You can store sauerkraut for several months: Because it is a fermented product, you can keep sauerkraut in the refrigerator for 2 months and sometimes longer. As long as it still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be.
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
Cabbage is a nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable and by simply adding salt and letting nature do the work, you’re able to transform it into a tasty new dish that’s great for your gut.