According to Wikipedia, sauerkraut is a rich source of both Vitamin C and lactobacillus which has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to normalize women’s health. The fermented cabbage was known in China and Rome more than 2,000 years ago.
To prepare this recipe we need:
- head of cabbage (weighing about 5 pounds)
- half a pound of carrots
- two ounces of salt
For making sauerkraut you can use a sauerkraut crock or large mason jar with a volume greater than two quarts. The mason jar is more convenient to use in the first time because you can see fermentation process and store the sauerkraut in the same jar. Please, sterilize the jar before starting.
Ok, wash the cabbage and remove the outer green leaves. Leaves should be only white or slightly green. Wash the carrots, peel them, then rinse them.
Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the stalk from every part. Then finely chop half of the cabbage. Grate half of the carrots using a coarse grater. Put everything into a bowl and add salt.
Toss the cabbage mixture with your hands, crumpling the cabbage to release the juice. Gradually transfer the cabbage from the bowl to the jar and crush the cabbage in the jar with a wood rolling-pin like this or with a vegetable pounder to release a large amount of juice.
Note: Be sure to use a wooden or plastic stomper. Do not press too hard or you could break the jar. A few light taps are enough for the juice. If you are afraid of damaging the jar, do everything in a sauerkraut crock, then transfer the mixture to the jar.
When you have finished transferring the mixture to the jar, repeat the previous process for the other half of the cabbage and carrots. In principle, you can do the whole process in one go. However, we have divided the process into two parts for ease of handling and for a more even distribution of the carrots. Do not fill the jar to the neck; leave a space at the top, but make sure that all the cabbage is covered with juice. Put the plastic cover on top of the jar. Do not close the jar with the lid; just put the lid on top. The lid is necessary only as a protection from dust. Put the jar in a warm place; normal room temperature should also be enough.
Over the next few days the cabbage will be in a process of fermentation. The fluid level will increase and bubbles will appear.
Two to three times a day, pierce the cabbage mixture to release the gas bubbles. After piercing, the liquid level will drop down. I recommend a long, lightweight kitchen knife to pierce the cabbage. No need to use heavy blades (such as for meat); they can damage the glass jar. You also can use thin wooden sticks, such as chopsticks or bamboo skewers. Pierce the cabbage in a several places all the way to the bottom of the jar.
The fermentation process usually lasts three to four days. If the liquid no longer climbs up and no longer forms bubbles, then the fermentation process is complete, and the sauerkraut is ready. When this happens, close the jar with a plastic lid and place the jar in the refrigerator for storage. If you used a pot for cabbage fermentation, put the cabbage and brine mixture in a glass jar before putting it in the refrigerator for storage. The sauerkraut can be stored up to one year.
Sauerkraut can be served with meat, used in salads or served separately. For example, if you add to the sauerkraut pieces of boiled potatoes, chopped onions and sunflower oil, you will get a great salad. If you feel a surge of creativity, you can greatly vary the taste of sauerkraut by adding fruits or vegetables such as cranberries, peppers, apples and beets. Create your own unique taste of sauerkraut and please share it with us.
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