If there was ever a perfect gift to give to someone else it would be his or her first ever jar of real sauerkraut. Real fermented sauerkraut (not the stuff on the supermarket shelf) is the simplest and most effective way to help bring about health for someone’s gut, and it is dirt cheap to make.
Recipe contains: –
- 1 star anise
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 600 g (21 oz.) cabbage (green or red, or a mix of the two)
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 2 tablespoons juniper berries
- 1 small handful dill, roughly chopped
- 1 sachet vegetable starter culture (2–5 g, depending on the brand)
You will need a 1.5L preserving jar with an airlock lid for this recipe. Wash the jar and utensils thoroughly in very hot water or run them through a hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher.
Place the star anise and cloves in a small piece of muslin, tie into a bundle and set aside. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Choose one of the outer leaves, wash it well and set aside. Shred the cabbage in a food processor or slice by hand or with a mandolin, then place in a large glass or stainless steel bowl.
Sprinkle the salt, caraway seeds and juniper berries and dill over the cabbage. Mix well, cover and set aside while you prepare the starter culture.
Dissolve the starter culture in water according to the packet instructions (the amount of water will depend on the brand you are using). Add to the cabbage with the muslin bag containing the spices and mix well.
Fill the prepared jar with the cabbage mix, pressing down firmly between each addition with a large spoon or potato masher to remove any air pockets. Leave 2 cm of room free at the top. The cabbage should be completely submerged in the liquid, so add more water if necessary.
Take the clean cabbage leaf, fold it up and place it on top of the mixture, then add a small glass weight to keep everything submerged (a small shot glass is ideal). Close the lid, then wrap a tea towel around the side of the jar to block out the light.
Store in a dark place with a temperature of 16–23°C for at least 10 days and up to 2 weeks. (You can place the jar in an esky to maintain a more consistent temperature.) Different vegetables have different culturing times and the warmer it is the shorter the time needed. The longer you leave the jar to ferment, the greater the level of good bacteria will be present. It’s up to you how long you leave it – some people prefer the tangier flavour that comes with extra fermenting time, while others prefer a milder flavour.
Chill before eating.
Make lots, pop it into little jars when it’s ready and start handing it out to loved ones with some information on why it is so good for them… and go on, I dare you to make little jars and give ‘em to the kids when they come trick or treating next time! Once opened, it will last for up to 2 months in the fridge when kept submerged in the liquid. If unopened, it will keep for up to 9 months in the fridge.
Tip: I use a Culture For Life starter jar as they are purpose-made for fermenting vegetables. If you do use one of these, there is no need to cover and weight the shredded cabbage with a folded cabbage leaf and shot glass, as the jar has an inbuilt weighting system. There is also no need to cover with a tea towel as there is a silicone cover provided to block out the light.