While I’m on my probiotic foods kick, I want to share my easy homemade sauerkraut recipe. It is simple and fun to alter to come up with interesting flavors and textures. It’s great for using up leftover greens on their last leg in the fridge, or beautiful fresh exotic root vegetables and starchy veggies from the farmer’s market or your CSA.
- purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- beet stems, chopped
- red onion, thinly sliced
- 1-3 tbs salt
- 2 tbs spices: (choose from dill, thyme, marjoram, and/or tarragon)
- A big jar
- A mason jar lid that fits inside the jar, or a plastic lid
- a clean heavy object
I left the ingredients vague because the amount you make depends on the vessel you have. You have to have a really big jar to make sauerkraut from an entire cabbage. With my 32oz jar, I was able to use about a quarter of a medium-sized purple cabbage, 3 beet stems, and 1/2 a red onion.
Once you have prepared your ingredients, you start by layering each vegetable and then the spices, making sure to pack it down. So pack some cabbage, then beets, then onions, and punch them down like they made you mad. Next sprinkle in salt and spices, generously. Then repeat cabbage, then beets, then onions, then punch. Keep packing it down until you run out of ingredients or the jar gets full.
Next, push the lid in the jar to further pack it down. Add weight to the lid to help you keep the ingredients packed. I usually use a tall glass or a thin bottle that I can fill with water. Every once in a while, I’ll walk past the jar and release some frustration by pushing down on the bottle.
Leave it for about 4 hours, and you should start to see the juices from the vegetables seep out and cover over the top of the vegetables. This aspect is important to keep the right kind of bacteria growing and keeping the kraut from molding or going bad. If you don’t express enough juices to cover all the solids, you can also just add some water to cover the top. This can be an option too for people who need to limit sodium, and don’t want to use as much salt.
Next comes the easy and hard part: waiting.
Two weeks later, you will have an incredible homemade kraut–zesty, fresh, salty, and delicious!
***Note: I finally have some real pottery to hold my food thanks to Clay Concepts in Glens Falls, NY. If you’re in the Capital Region, it’s the best pottery classes. Check them out!