German Sauerkraut Recipe
Have you ever made German Sauerkraut before? I’ve had so many in my life, but the best were always the ones that were homemade. Let me show you how to make a typical German version of Sauerkraut.
Fermenting is an age-old way of preserving foods and increasing their nutritional value. Turning cabbage into sauerkraut is one of the easiest fermented foods to master. Sauerkraut simply means “sour cabbage” in German, but making kraut does so much more than just make cabbage sour. It is easy and requires very little special equipment, and the results are dependably delicious. All you need to do is combine shredded cabbage with some salt and pack it into jar. The cabbage releases liquid, creating its own brining solution. Submerged in this liquid for a period of several days or weeks, the cabbage slowly ferments into the crunchy, sour condiment we know and love as sauerkraut.
When submerged in a brine, the bacteria begin to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid; this is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Besides preserving the cabbage, this fermentation process also transforms it into something incredibly tasty and gives it additional health benefits. Fermented sauerkraut contains the same healthy probiotics as a bowl of yogurt.
Homemade German sauerkraut is brilliantly easy to make at home. All you need is two simple ingredients and patience.
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- 3 big heads of green cabbage
- 20g of sea salt
- 1,5l glass jar (sterilised)
- small glass jar that fits inside the 1,5l jar
- Make sure to sterilise your glass jar and work with clean hands and equipments.
- Slice the cabbage into quarters then, thinly slice cabbage into very thin ribbons or use a mandolin to speed up the process.
- Place the thinly sliced cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Knead and press for about 10 minutes until cabbage becomes soft and the natural brine is coming out from the cabbage. This will help the fiber to break down.
- Now pack the cabbage into the jar pressing down each layer. Cover with whole cabbage leaf and press down the edges making sure it is completely submerged in the brine.
- Weigh it down using a small jar that fits inside the lid. You can also use large vegetable pieces or boiled stones.
- Place in dark environment or cover with a cloth and store in room temperature. Make sure the temperature is fairly stable idealy around 20°c. The fermentation will begin within a day and take 2-5 weeks depending on temperature and desired flavour and texture.
- It is normal to see bubbles, white scum, or foam on top during the fermentation. You shouldn't see any actual mold, though. If you do, scrape it off the top, and make sure the rest of the cabbage is fully submerged. Once fermented, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.
- Ideal taste should be slightly sour and tangy with a bite to it.
- The salinity ratio is 1kg cabbage = 20g salt.
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