Back in the day, people used to ferment foods to preserve their beneficial minerals, vitamins – and bacteria! Beneficial bacteria in your gut helps with digestion, and a flourishing community of these microscopic microbes help with wellbeing in all sorts of ways, by helping you sleep for example!
Easy to make at home, this fermented cabbage dish is high in fibre, as well as vitamins A, C, K and various B vitamins. It’s also a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium and calcium!
So let’s get pickling
- Carefully remove a couple of the outer leaves from the cabbage and keep to one side. Use a mandolin, food processor or a large sharp knife to finely shred the rest of the cabbage. Mix the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl with the salt, you want to evenly distribute the salt amongst the cabbage. Leave to sweat for 1 hour, they will go limp in this time
- By now you should see that the cabbage has released some water. Using your hands, squeeze and massage the cabbage using some force to reduce the volume of the cabbage and release as much of the water as possible. Continue doing this for around 5 minutes then mix in the grated apple and caraway
- Tightly pack the mixture into a large jar (HINT: The jar should ideally be wide enough to fit a clenched fist through the opening)
- You should by now have enough brine to cover the top of the mixture by about 2cm. If needed, you can use some of the brine that will be left in the bottom of the mixing bowl to top this up. Make sure all the cabbage is submerged below the level of the brine. (HINT: you can fold 1 or 2 of large outer leaves you removed earlier, packing them into the top of the jar to help keep the shredded cabbage submerged under the brine)
- Place the lid on the jar loosely and leave the jar somewhere dark at room temperature for at least 5 day. (HINT: the length of time at which the sauerkraut is ready will vary – in warmer months it will happen a bit quicker)
- After 5 days, carefully remove the top cabbage leaf and taste a little of the sauerkraut to see if it is ready. You can leave the sauerkraut to ferment from anywhere between 2-6 weeks depending on how sour you like it