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German recipe: Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, pork sausage, spaetzle and seeded mustardI make sauerkraut quite regularly, it’s super healthy (as its fermented food) and with some lovely German pork sausages and seeded mustard, it tastes great.

The process I use takes minutes and perhaps isn’t the most traditional, but it works, isn’t too arduous and tastes great.  What more do you want?

For equipment, you only need a large jar that can be sealed and something to weigh the cabbage down.  I use ceramic baking beads – but you can use a small jar filled with water, or even marbles (as long as they’re clean!).

Ingredients:

Method:

Take off the outer leaves from the cabbage (around 6-8 leaves) and set aside (you’ll use these later).  Cut the cabbage into quarters and if the cabbage is quite large, into 8ths.

Cut off the hard core in the middle of each cabbage quarter and discard.  Then slice the cabbage into thin strips.

Get a large mixing bowl and place all of the cabbage and around 2 tablespoons of salt.  With your hands you want to mix the salt into the cabbage and actually squeeze the cabbage with the salt so that water leaks from the cabbage and it softens.  I do this for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage is almost like a coleslaw consistency.  The longer you do this the better and softer your sauerkraut will be.

Once you’re happy with the consistency, mix in the caraway seeds.

Then pour everything into a large jar and push the sauerkraut into the jar very firmly.  I never have enough liquid to cover the sauerkraut (as I don’t work it for very long), so I mix around 1 teaspoon salt with 500 mls water and pour in enough so that the sauerkraut is covered in water.

Large jar with sauerkraut and baking beadsThen place those large outer cabbage leaves that were pulled off at the beginning and place that on top and push the sauerkraut down into the jar.  Then the baking beads / smaller jar filled with water is placed on top to ensure that the sauerkraut is submerged in water.  Seal the jar.

The sauerkraut will ferment within 3 days but you can leave it for 2 weeks.  The longer its allowed to ferment the stronger the sauerkraut will be.  I usually eat after around 5 days.  If you see bubbles appearing after 3 days – then this is great – this is what you want!  Keep refrigerated after you open the jar and discard the larger leaves.

We like to eat the sauerkraut with German smoked pork sausages, spaetzle and some seeded mustard.  Yum!

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