Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway

June 6, 2015

Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway - Homespun Capers

I get it. You know about good gut health and the benefits of fermented foods, but the idea of making your own homemade sauerkraut seems just too deeply buried in the “too hard” basket. This, I assure you, is going to totally change your mind! One of the daunting things about making sauerkraut is that there tradition to ferment it in huge barrel size quantities. Totally fine for the experienced ‘kraut eater and their ‘kraut eatin’ kids, but a little overwhelming for us novices! Never fear – this small batch fermented ‘kraut is the answer and there is no reason to not make and enjoy your own (and reap the health benefits)!

This recipe is the simplest ferment I know, using just cabbage, salt and the traditional caraway seeds (optional; but which reminds me a little of rye bread). It’s easy: cut up cabbage > salt it > put in a jar > leave it for a week > voila! Full of lacto-fermented goodness, all natural and super delicious! With a maximum hands-on time of 20min!

There couldn’t be an easier way to get healthy and dairy free probiotics in your diet! I’ll be back with a recipe using your sauerkraut in the next couple of weeks! Xx

Ps- if you have any trouble shooting questions  (or want to learn more) this article has some great pointers and suggestions for avoiding mould (though I have never had any problems).

Update: For a recipe featuring this sauerkraut try this Shaved Fennel, Orange and Sauerkraut Salad!

Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway - Homespun Capers

Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway - Homespun Capers Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway - Homespun Capers Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway - Homespun Capers

Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway

  • Servings: 1 litre
  • Time: 20min
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Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway

Use red cabbage here like I did,  or green, or a mix of both for a light pink coloured ‘kraut. Use your favourite whole spice such as bay, coriander or cumin, or the traditional caraway or juniper. Homemade sauerkraut is a seperate beast to the store bought variety and means you can control how fermented you’d like it – so make sure you taste it every so often and ferment it for as long as you like (3-10 days is a rough guide but feel free to take it past 10).

Adapted from The Kitchn.

Makes up to 1 litre.

Sauerkraut: Small Batch with Caraway

Half a large cabbage (red, green or both)
1.5 tbls pickling or sea salt (non-iodinised)
1 tbls caraway seeds (or other whole spice, optional)

Wash a pickling or mason jar about 1 litre in capacity in hot water and leave to dry. Thoroughly wash your hands and make sure your work surface is clean (to remove any unwanted bacteria).

Peel the outer two layers of the cabbage, reserving the inner leaf. Cut out the thick core of the cabbage with a sharp knife and discard. Thinly slice the remaining cabbage into approx 1cm ribbons and place in a large bowl. Add the salt and massage well with your hands for 5-10 minutes till wilted. It may seem like you do not have enough salt, but the cabbage will collapse in time if you wait it out. Now add the caraway seeds or other spices, if using.

When the cabbage is soft and feels limp, pack it into the jar, pushing down with you fist to try and get as much liquid out of it as possible. Press down till the cabbage is submerged in its own juices. Once you have pressed all the cabbage into the jar (leaving about 3 cm free space at the top for expanding juices), place the reserved outer leaf over the top of the shredded leaves, press firmly down on it and close the lid.

After 24 hours press down again and if you find the cabbage is not submerged dissolve 1 tsp salt in 1/2 cup of water and top up. You can also use a glass (not metal) weight on top of the top leaf to keep your kraut submerged.

Leave the jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 3-10 days, tasting occasionally to determine how fermented you like it. The length of fermentation will depend on outside temperature – I like about 7 days in winter. Open the jar at least twice a day to “burp it” to let out any gas build up and also press down the cabbage to submerge it and release more pickling juices. Note: if you need to leave your kraut unattended for a few days – leave the jar open, covered with mesh or cheese cloth and secured with a rubber band to keep the bugs out. Leaving it in a sealed jar will build up pressure and also create an alcohol (neither desirable!). You can ferment your kraut with an open lid for the whole time – this is called “wild fermentation” and it will take on characteristics of your environment (using good bacteria in the air).

Over the fermentation period, the cabbage will fizz and bubble and produce more juices. I leave my jar besides the kitchen sink as sometimes the jar will build up pressure and leak when unattended (leaving the 3cm gap will minimise chances of this happening)! It’s also easier to remember to “burp it” when you can see it!

When you think the sauerkraut tastes good, store the jar in the fridge. Serve alongside roasted veggies, burgers, veggies sausages, salads, or anywhere you see fit.

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