Red cabbage sauerkraut

08 May 2018
Like many things, I never much liked sauerkraut until I tried homemade. I happened to be in Germany at the time, so that probably helped too. It did take me a little while to build up the courage to take the plunge into fermented foods but I haven't looked back.

Making your own sauerkraut is super simple. At its most basic it involves just two ingredients: cabbage and salt. You can change up the flavours by adding spices such as caraway, dill, celery, coriander or fennel seeds. You can also vary the vegetables and make kraut out of many things. I've experimented with carrots and kohlrabi in the past and both made a tasty alternative.

My stock was starting to run a little low and I thought I might experiment with a little more colour for my next batch, so I picked up a red (although this is probably closer to purple) cabbage.

Shredding up the cabbage.



The first step is to wash your cabbage and shred it up. You can do this with a knife and board, a box grater or in the food processor. Whatever works.

Then you pop it in a bowl and sprinkle on some salt. The ratio of salt to cabbage isn't an exact science. I use about 1.5 Tablespoons per kilogram of vegetables but you can play around and find what gives you the flavour you like best. You do of course need a reasonable amount to inhibit the growth of other bugs and enable fermentation - 1 teaspoon per kilo is probably not going to cut it.

Cabbage and salt in the bowl - I added some caraway seeds to this batch.

Once you've got your salt and cabbage in a bowl give it a good massage. This helps to start drawing the water out from your cabbage. Then you want to pack your cabbage into a clean jar or crock to ferment. Top up with any brine from the bowl and make sure your cabbage is completely covered by liquid. If your cabbage hasn't let out enough liquid you can continue to press it down a couple of times over the first day and see if it will produce a little more or top up with a little water.

Packed into the jar - not quite enough liquid so I added a little water.

The key to a successful ferment is making sure your 'stuff' stays below the liquid. You can weigh your cabbage down with a cabbage leaf, ziplock bag full of water or a small plate/disc of something that fits inside your fermenting vessel. For this batch I just checked it once a day and pushed it all down with the back of a fork if any had risen up. Pop a cloth or lid loosely on top and leave to ferment. After about 3 days you can take a daily sample of your kraut and see what you think. Once it tastes how you like it pop on a lid and store in the fridge. You can leave it on the bench or somewhere dark and it will continue to ferment and the flavour will strengthen. Some fermentation will still happen in the fridge but a lot less.

After three days - lots of fermentation bubbles.

And that's it.

We enjoy sauerkraut on a summer time salad plate, served alongside sausages or on top of a burger. It also gives a nice twang to a toasted cheese sandwich.

How do you like your sauerkraut? Or are you not a fan?
If you've made your own sauerkraut any tips or additions to share?

3 comments

  1. Laura, I made a couple of Moccona coffee bottles full of red cabbage sauerkraut a few weeks ago. I think I added some carrot and an apple to the mix. It tastes good though. Our simple living group has done a couple of fermentation workshops and the combinations that some people come up with are extremely interesting.

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  2. Hi Laura, I have had sauerkraut in the past. Once! I do know though that home made makes a big difference so I just might take a deep breathe and make some of my own! It sounds rather nice with the toasted sandwiches.

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  3. i love sauerkraut! i just buy it from the shop but i have a hankering to make my own. maybe this winter:) cheers sherry

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