When we say sauerkraut, you immediately think of Germany, don’t you? Although sauerkraut, also known as sour cabbage, is not only a German culinary tradition, it is unquestionably one of the most popular dishes in this country. However, it is also becoming popular among us, not only for its taste, but also for the health benefits of fermented foods.
What exactly is this fermented food? Sauerkraut is nothing more than cabbage or cabbage white lactofermentada, a process that preserves it and gives it its distinctive acidic flavor. We’ll show you how to make homemade sauerkraut step by step, but we’ll also talk about the fermentation process to keep you calm; we’ll show you how to make your sour cabbage look like the one you ate at Oktoberfest; and we’ll tell you about the benefits of fermented foods, particularly sauerkraut.
- 1 white cabbage
- Coarse salt (2% of the weight of cabbage)
- spices to taste (peppercorns, juniper, dill, bay leaf, etc.)
- 1 large glass jar (at least 1 liter) with a wide mouth, or a sauerkraut
- 1 wooden mallet or spoon
- a weight that enters through the mouth of the jar: a smaller jar that we can fill with water, some well-washed pebbles, etc.
- a clean cloth
- Remove the outer cabbage leaves, which are usually spoiled. Remove the trunk from the center and cut it into very thin strips after cutting it into quarters.
- Weigh the cabbage to determine how much salt to use: 20 g of coarse salt, or about 2%, for 1 kg of cabbage.
- Place the chopped cabbage in a large mixing bowl with the coarse salt and spices of your choice, and patiently squeeze the cabbage with your hands (or a mallet) for several minutes, until you can squeeze out a handful of liquid.
- Squeeze the cabbage in the large jar with a mallet or wooden spoon to expel air and allow the liquid to rise above the vegetables. Allow the liquid to sit for about 5 hours if it does not cover them. If the liquid released by the cabbage is still insufficient to cover it, add a little cooled boiled water to cover it. Make sure the jar isn't completely full.
- Place a weight on top to keep the cabbage submerged.
- Cover the container, and remember to open and close it every day, because CO2 is produced during the fermentation process and must be expelled (you will only have to do it for the first few days). You can also use a cloth instead of the lid to cover it so you don't have to uncover it every day. If you're using a "sauerkraut," or fermenting container, use the lid, which has a hole for this purpose.
- Keep the jar in a cool, dry place, ideally between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. Allow it to ferment for at least 2 weeks, but the length of time depends on your preferences: the longer it ferments (even months), the softer the cabbage will be and the more acidic the taste will be.
- Once it has reached the desired temperature, we place the jar in the refrigerator, where the fermentation process is greatly slowed.
- THE FERMENTATION: We'll know our cabbage is fermenting because we'll see CO2 bubbles rising through the liquid. Fermentation is a safe method of preserving food because the presence of beneficial living organisms (as in yogurt or sourdough) inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. It is critical that all of the vegetables are always submerged in the liquid; otherwise, mold could form on the parts that are exposed to air, contaminating everything else.
- THE CABBAGE: White cabbage is the traditional choice, but nothing prevents you from experimenting with other varieties, such as red cabbage.
- HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE CHUCRUT IS READY TO EAT: It's all a matter of taste. If you prefer more acid, you will have to wait a little longer. After two weeks, you can test it with a clean fork to see if it's ready.
- STOP THE FERMENTATION: Once the sauerkraut has reached the desired consistency, place it in the refrigerator to allow the fermentation to slow significantly and remain at that level. Otherwise, the fermentation will continue. It can be stored in the refrigerator for months.
- IS MY CHUCRUT BAD? : If it smells bad (not like cabbage) or has changed color, it's best to throw it away.
Amount Per Serving Calories 9Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 185mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 0g