Basic Kraut

If fermenting your own veg is something you've put off for fear of doing it wrong, put it off no longer.  This basic kraut is a doddle to make and there really isn't much room for error.  Roll up your sleeves and get massaging some cabbage...

Ingredients

2 organic cabbages (white or red)
Sea or Himalayan salt
1.5tsp caraway seeds

You will need: a large mixing bowl and a clip top jar (such as Kilner or Fido), approx. 1L.

Method

- Wash and sterilise your jar using boiling water or a short cycle in the dishwasher.

- Wash and dry the cabbage. Check for any bruised or rotten looking bits and remove where necessary.

- Remove two outer leaves from the cabbage by cutting at the base of the spine and carefully peeling off, keeping in tact where possible.  Put to one side.

- Weigh the mixing bowl you’re using.

- Quarter the cabbage and shred.  The thickness is up to you; I prefer to use a mandolin, which gives me a thin consistent shred.  Place the shredded cabbage into a large mixing bowl and put the cores to one side, if you have any left.

- Now weigh the mixing bowl with the cabbage in it and work out how much the cabbage weighs.  Work out what 2% of the cabbage weight is – that’s how much salt you need to use.  For example, 500g cabbage = 10g salt.

- Sprinkle the cabbage with the salt and add the caraway seeds - mix with your hands and massage a little before putting to one side for 30mins, giving the salt time to work its magic.

- After 30 minutes has passed, the salt should’ve drawn the liquid from the cabbage and there should be a little pool of it in the bottom of the bowl.   If there isn’t, massage for 5 or so minutes to release more liquid.

- Pack the cabbage into the jar, tamping with your hand/a rolling pin between layers.  When all the cabbage is in the jar, pour in any remaining liquid leaving a 1-2inch gap at the top.  There should be enough liquid to cover the cabbage – if there isn’t, make up a salt brine solution using filtered water and sea/Himalayan salt at 1tsp salt per 200ml water.  Pour in enough to cover the cabbage.

- Tear the outer cabbage leaf you removed at the beginning to form a circle slightly bigger than the jar.  Place this on top of the shredded cabbage and wedge to secure.  If you have any cabbage cores left, place these on top to act as a weight. 

- Secure the lid and leave to ferment at room temperature for approx. 2 weeks, at which point taste it to see if it’s to your liking.  If it is, pop it in the fridge.  If not, leave out for a couple more days before tasting again.