sauerkraut

I’ve just finished making my own sauerkraut.

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It was fermented for just over 2 weeks. Actually some is still going. The longer you leave it (making sure there is no oxygen getting to it) the more probiotics it will have and the better it will be.

I used red cabbage as I grew my own from seed, first time doing that too. I photographed them quite a lot and almost felt a bit sad pulling them up, so I couldn’t resist the idea of making a few pretty looking jars of magenta coloured ruby sauerkraut, and taking more photos 🙂

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I really did photograph them a lot.

In the end we had about 6-8 reasonable sized cabbages, next year I will remember to thin all of them not just a few, so they have more space. I don’t intend on using rows either, I know it makes sense for weeding and thinning, but its dull and I didn’t like leaving spaces :/ probably the reluctance to thin.. will definitely leave them all more space whatever is done. Cabbages not in raised beds didn’t so well at all, not because of slugs; they weren’t a problem until much later on, thanks to our annual song thrush (did you know they migrate to the same garden every year, and recognise it by smell? I didn’t that’s bloody amazing!) I suspect it was because they prefer to have plenty of space for their roots.

I get very little sun so leafy vegetables should do better. I planned my beds for the only ‘sunny-ish’ spot that there is 🙂

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Yes. I even photographed this.

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So anyway. Sauerkraut.

The important things to remember are 

1) Leave it out longer than 7 days.

..and up to 4 weeks (yes really) 3 stage fermentation is going to provide you with lovely probiotics I assume you want. 3 days doesn’t even achieve the first stage. Should really leave it at least until its stopped bubbling. Fermentation doesn’t stop in the fridge but it will really slow down a lot.

2) Keep it oxygen free.

This reduces the chances of mould and having to research whether they are bad or not, they’re not desirable. If you practise good hygiene and keep your cabbage under the brine all should be well. It can be harder to achieve this for longer ferments (4 week ones) using the method that I am. Most of my jars are now refrigerated so as not to risk wasting my beautiful cabbage lol 🙂

I have blogged about kefir before; https://elysiandaisies.com/2014/09/08/how-to-make-kombucha-and-kefir/ dairy kefir, like kraut relies on Lactic acid bacteria (LABs) They do better without oxygen.

Ooh this is very useful if you’re interested in anything I’ve just said up there http://www.nourishingtreasures.com/index.php/2012/05/15/the-science-behind-sauerkraut-fermentation/

Its pretty easy.

Cut the tougher stalk parts from the middle edge of the leaves and chopped them fairly finely; do this to your preference. I like it fairly chunky.

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Then added about 2/3 tablespoons of sea salt and let it sit a half hour

came back and gave it a good squish and left it some more

You should start to see the liquid from the cabbage, being drawn out by the salt in the bottom of your bowl

The more the better

spoon the cabbage into your clean jars pressing down with a spoon/ladel

I added some traditional pickling spices; cloves, mustard seeds, celery seeds, blackppercorns, chili etc. In between each layer

top up the jars with extra brine (approx a tablespoon per half pint of water) if necessary

Since I didnt have any airlocks I created one using a food bag filled water

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just place the bag into the jar and add water to weigh the cabbage down and keep it submerged

I secured the lid ontop for hygiene reasons and help keep air out.

You will need to rease the gases once (or more) a day during the first couple of days

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Bubbling away and fermenting nicely

you will see it bubble and it will bubble over if you are doing a good job of leaving little space for air

Leave at least for 7 days releasing the gases and topping the bag up with water to keep the gabbage weighted down

refigerate and serve how you like

We enjoyed it with a sausage casserole and like this

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I win at masterchef!

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