Many of us love having versatile cabbages in the veg box, but if you want to expand your cabbage repertoire we suggest making your own delicious, nutritious, organic sauerkraut or kimchi. The health benefits of ‘live’ fermented veg have been well documented: packed full of nutrients and good bacteria for a happy gut biome.
My own sauerkraut learning curve has been guided by a fantastic book: Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten & Christopher Shockey. Tastiest creations so far are cabbage kraut with lemon and dill, and swede kraut with orange zest, rosemary and black pepper.
Basic principles are wonderfully simple: shred vegetables and add salt, massage well so that the salt draws water from the veg to produce a brine. Pack the veg in a jar, keeping veg submerged in the brine using a weight. The anaerobic brine environment promotes the growth of healthy bacteria but inhibits the baddies. In 10 days or so, the friendly bacteria will have worked their magic and transformed the raw veg into tasty kraut.
I’ve set out the essential steps here for a simple cabbage and carrot sauerkraut. For a fuller understanding of fermentation processes, do consult a reliable source such as the Shockeys’ book. They have a website too ferment.works including a blog with advice and trouble-shooting tips. Make sure you read this one: Five ways to make sure you will not go wrong fermenting your veg.
And here’s a video: ‘Beyond Cabbage’ (forward to 13:30 for the demo if you’re in a rush).
How much salt? It depends on the veg weight. Organic veg box devotees know that we need to be flexible with recipe quantities! Let’s say use one large-ish organic cabbage and a couple of organic carrots. Once washed and prepped , weigh them to determine how much salt you need to generate a brine. The formula for the salt is 2% of the weight of the veg used.