Add to sandwiches, as a side with ham and other cooked meats or with a cheesy jacket potato.
Homemade sauerkraut will help to provide your digestive system with beneficial gut microbes and is also a good source of vitamin B12. However, I do not recommend fermented foods if you have low stomach acid, food intolerances or regularly take anti-histamines or antacids. If this describes you then I recommend that you enjoy fresh, raw salads and lightly cooked vegetables instead of fermented foods.
You will need clean pickle jars (this recipe makes approximately 1 litre of sauerkraut) and a food processor is useful to finely chop the cabbage, but is not essential.
1 organic white cabbage, chopped finely using a food processor
(I used the variety ‘sweetheart’ because it was locally grown)
Optional extra- I added a thinly slice fennel bulb but this is not in the standard recipe
3 organic carrots, peeled and grated
2 large white onions, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons of sea salt
125ml warm water (previously boiled)
1 tablespoon fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons dill seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1) Place the prepared cabbage, carrots, onions (and fennel bulb if using) in a large mixing bowl
2) Measure out the warm water and stir in the sea salt, ensuring that it is completely dissolved
3) Pour the salt solution over the vegetables. (Top up with extra boiled and cooled water if the veg isn’t quite covered).
4) Wash your hands well (and scrub your nails if necessary!!) and then massage the vegetables for a few minutes to ensure that everything in the bowl has made contact with the salt.
5) Cover with a plate and set aside at room temperature. Leave overnight.
6) Make sure all your utensils and pickle jars are scrupulously clean because any nasty bugs that are present will destroy your sauerkraut during the fermentation process. (Pickle jars should either be sterilized with a Milton type solution and rinsed well or washed in very hot soapy water and placed in a 100oC oven to dry).
7) Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid.
8) Stir through the prepared garlic, ginger, dill and fennel seeds and mix well.
9) Tightly pack the vegetable mixture into your clean and cooled pickle jars
10) Pour over the reserved liquid
11) Press the cabbage down firmly into the jars and top up with liquid, ensuring that there are no air pockets within the jar (although a small space at the top of the jar is OK)
12) Ensure that the pickle jar is closed tightly (It is important that the fermenting process is not disturbed by extra oxygen leaking into the jar)
13) Leave the jars in a dark, cool (but not cold) place. Perhaps a garage?
14) To avoid the potential for a histamine reaction I allow the fermentation process to work for 1 month before sampling the sauerkraut. However, a study by Palani et al (2016) reports that maximum health benefits may be at 9 days fermentation
Consume within approximately 2 months of making.
(Note- when you open the lid it should smell sweet and fruity with a hint of cabbage. If it smells bad then the fermentation process has failed and the contents should be discarded).
15) Store open jars in the fridge and consume within a couple of weeks.
*Adapted from: The Functional Nutrition Cookbook, (2013), by Lorraine Nicolle and Christine Bailey, printed by ‘Singing Dragon’, London.
Palani, K. Harbaum-piayda, B. Meske, D. Keppler, J.K. Bockelmann, W. Heller, K.J. Schwarz, K. (2016), ‘Influence of fermentation on glucosinolates and glucobrassicin degradation products in sauerkraut’, Food Chemistry, Vol. 190, pp. 755-762 [online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.06.012