Fermented foods like sauerkraut are enjoying a big resurgence among healthy eaters and for good reason, they contain a multitude of good bacteria essential for increasing antibodies and strengthening the immune system, they also help to reduce sugar cravings, regulate the appetite and when made well, taste great!
One of the healthiest fermented foods is sauerkraut; Cabbage contains natural isothiocyanate compounds (such as sulforaphane) which have cancer-fighting properties, and sauerkraut is teeming with beneficial lactobacillus bacteria – more than is in live yogurt – which increase the healthy flora in the intestinal tract. This helps the immune system fight infection, and aids digestion, hence sauerkraut’s venerable reputation as a remedy for upset stomach and constipation.
I love sauerkraut with most foods so I decided to make some, after finding this recipe in the Observer, which I’ve adapted slightly. As they suggest it would also make a great edible gift. I fermented mine in the basement for three weeks and the result was a wonderful crisp, pink, gorgeous tasting sauerkraut.
- 1 kg white cabbage
- 1 kg red cabbage (or more white if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp celery seeds
- Finely chop or mandolin your cabbage and put it in a clean bucket, sprinkling with the salt as you go. Then sprinkle the seeds over and mix it all up really well with your (clean) hands.
- Find a plate about the same circumference as your bucket and put it on top. Then find a very heavy weight like a big stone or a jar filled with water. I used the base of my very heavy mortar and pestle.
- Cover with a tea towel and place in a cool, dark place. A basement is perfect as it can get a little smelly.
- The cabbage should release water and sit under the liquid at all times, so keep an eye on it. You don't want it to dry out. If a little surface growth appears, just scrape it off, it's all good and part of the fermentation.
- You can leave it for a week to three weeks, taste it and see if you like it after a week.
- You can then put it in sterilised jars with some of the liquid and a tight-fitting lid. Store in the fridge and if you give it to someone tell them to use it in three weeks after opening.