I just made my second batch of sauerkraut with a head of red cabbage. I’m getting into this, and I will never buy sauerkraut in a store again. It’s so easy and gratifying to make at home.
The first time, I used half a head of green cabbage, wakame (seaweed), and salt. It was good. Not that juicy, so I added a bit of sauerkraut juice from a jar of Bubbie’s!
This time, I used only two ingredients: cabbage and salt, and followed these easy steps:
Slice the cabbage into shreds. Do you like my Kyocera Mandoline? It saves time and gives a nice shred.
Add salt. I used Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt for this batch.
Massage (squeeze and wring) the cabbage until the cabbage is drippy and there’s liquid in the bottom of the bowl.
Put the cabbage in a jar, submerging it in its own liquid. I used clean rocks on top of a quart mason jar lid. Okay, these are some of my favorite rocks from West Texas taken off my blessing altar…and I couldn’t think of a better auxiliary use for them than to assist with my nourishment. (Isn’t that purple liquid a gorgeous color?)
Leaving the lid open, cover the jar with a cloth and a rubber band to keep the bugs out and let the fermenting bacteria in.
After 3 days, taste it every day until it tastes good to you (3 days to 3 weeks, depending on temperature and other variables). Remove cloth, close lid, refrigerate, and eat.
Here’s what I ended up with. It only took two days of fermenting in the Texas heat. The kraut has a nice crunchy tanginess to it.
I told a friend how easy it was to make, and he couldn’t believe that sauerkraut didn’t have vinegar in it. That sour taste comes from the fermentation. Vinegar is fermented too, so there you go. I believe that “sour” is the taste of fermentation.
My learning curve
For this second batch, I used red cabbage because I love the color. I also let the cabbage come to room temperature before slicing, and it seems to have needed less massaging before getting juicy than my first batch, when the cabbage came right out of the fridge. I only needed to massage it for 3-4 minutes for it to get drippy-juicy, as opposed to 10 minutes the first time (and I added juice from store-bought kraut).
I’m happy to have found the mandoline. I’m imagining using it to grate fresh ginger for tea and beet-ginger kvass. Also: shredded brussels sprouts cook quickly in the summer heat. Mmmm.
My next batch of sauerkraut will include caraway seeds, a traditional kraut seasoning, and perhaps I’ll shred a Napa cabbage. I will make it with Real Salt instead of kosher salt.