This was so fricken’ easy. I honestly could not accept how easy it was until I made it, and it was delicious to boot. Simple, healthy, delicious, the big three of food.
So, I first saw this on Punk Domestics posted by a bunch of different people. I didn’t copy any particular recipe, but they did provide me with the basics. I won’t bore you with all of the probiotic/lacto-fermentation hullabaloo, since, frankly, I didn’t really care much about these aspects. I just wanted some good kraut, which is next to impossible to find here in Japan. But all of those things are very much relevant and I encourage you to go read up about it, because it is interesting, and good for you.
The one real take away, is that this is a live culture, and you can screw it up. And as with any preservation technique, there are risks that go along with it. They are low for this recipe though, so don’t be scared and make some kraut!
- 1/3-1/2 Head Cabbage (around 2 cups, I used green, but red should work fine, as should Napa)
- Heavy Pinch of Kosher Salt
Extras I used for flavor enhancement
- 1/2 t. Fennel Seeds
- 1/2 t. Caraway Seeds
Make sure you have a clean jar standing by. It should hold your cabbage with about an inch or so space on top. Reserve one leaf and shred the rest of your cabbage and place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage and then crunch it up with your hands. Break it down enough so that it starts to release moisture. Now stuff all that shredded stuff into the jar and add your mix-ins.
Trim the reserved leaf so that it will fit flat on top of the shredded cabbage in the jar. This will be used to keep everything below the waterline, and can be eaten later in one big messy bite. fill the jar with water to cover all of the cabbage, and weight down with something that fits inside the mouth of the jar, a shot glass generally works well. DO NOT put the lid on. I used a coffee filter with the date on it to cover it from dust, etc., though that wasn’t even really necessary.
Leave it on the counter for about a week (we ate the first servings on day 8), or until it is funky enough for you. It will bubble up a bit, and if you fill it too full you may have a small mess to clean up. I was surprised about how little it actually smelled; only when I picked up the jar could I smell the fermentation. I tasted it first on day 3 and it was starting to get sour, but not anywhere near enough. When it gets to the flavor you want, put a lid on it and throw it in the fridge. The process will slow way down and maintain the flavor from there. Though it will still keep going, and if it stays out will keep going with vigor.
We served it with some grilled smoked sausage on a bun that wasn’t actually very good, and with some spaetzle which was awful. (I have made spaetzle two or three times, and can’t get it to be good. But that’s not a discussion for this post.) The sauerkraut, on the other hand, was delicious.