Shredded cabbage that has been fermented to form a deliciously tasting sauerkraut with flavors of garlic, lemon, and caraway!
- 1 cabbage
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 2.5 teaspoons of himalayan salt
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
Equipment You’ll Need:
- 1 wide mouth 32 oz (1 quart) mason jar – I use these mason jars from Amazon (affiliate link).
- Easy Fermenter Lid Kit (affiliate link) – This one’s totally optional but it’s what I used. Read notes on blog post to learn more about this.
- A large mixing bowl
- A knife, or for finely shredded cabbage a mandolin or food processor with a shredder blade.
- Remove a few of the outer leaves from your cabbage and set aside. Using your knife, cut the cabbage in half, and then begin slicing the cabbage into finely shredded pieces. Throw out the stem or save for your compost pile. For a finer shred you can use a mandolin or your food processor with a shredding blade if you prefer.
- Place shredded cabbage inside a large mixing bowl. Add the 2.5 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 cup of lemon juice and begin massaging the cabbage with your hands for a few minutes to distribute the salt and lemon juice evenly. Let cabbage sit for 20 to 25 minutes* so that the salt/lemon can begin breaking down the walls of the cabbage. It will slowly begin releasing its water.
- After 20 to 25 minutes – using your hands (or some other tool to pound the cabbage) begin squeezing the cabbage. Some people prefer to pound the cabbage using a rolling pin or another hard object (but be careful not to break the mixing bowl!). I used my hands and it worked out fine. Grab the shredded cabbage and just squeeze it hard and continue doing so for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Go ahead and add the minced garlic and caraway seeds at time time and mix evenly.
- Once cabbage has released enough liquid transfer to a clean mason jar making sure to leave about 4 inches of space on top for expansion. I always clean my jars and lids with boiling water before using them. Transferring the cabbage to the jar may get messy. Make sure you are pressing down the cabbage into the jar so that the liquid begins pushing up. It may seem as if your cabbage is not releasing enough water (I thought I wasn’t going to have enough) but if you keep pressing down the cabbage, sure enough the liquid will rise. The goal is to get all of the cabbage submerged under the liquid (also known as brine). If any cabbage is left above the brine, it can and most likely will, go bad and begin to mold. Once again – ALL SHREDDED CABBAGE MUST BE UNDER THE LIQUID.
- Using the extra cabbage leaves that you removed earlier (or some other type of weight mechanism like this one (affiliate link), place it on top of the shredded cabbage and push down enough so that all of the shredded cabbage is under the brine. I used the weights that came with the ‘Easy Fermenter Lid Kit’. It’s okay if this extra cabbage is above the liquid because you won’t be eating this part, this is just extra to help you push down the actual shredded cabbage.
- Close up the mason jar with a regular mason jar lid, or with one of the fermenter kit lids if you have, and store in a dry, warm place (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) . I kept mine in my kitchen cabinet away from any direct sunlight.
- Check on your sauerkraut everyday. Don’t be afraid of opening your sauerkraut, just make sure you use clean wooden utensils and always close the lid back up tightly. If you are using a lid from the ‘easy fermenter kit’, use included pump to restore the seal (follow product directions.) If you are using regular mason jars lids – please note that it is recommended that you ‘burp’ or open the jars every day to allow the pressure to be released. The benefit of using a fermenter lid is that you don’t have to ‘burp’ it because the lids are designed to allow oxygen to escape.
- I checked on my sauerkraut mostly every other day, and once it was on the last few days, I was checking it daily. Always keep an eye out on how it looks, how it smells, and how it tastes. Yes, you can taste your kraut. That’s how you’ll know when it’s ready to transfer to the fridge! I transferred mine on the 11th day. I could have possibly left it to ferment a few more days, but on the 11th day I was happy enough with the taste. This part can take anywhere between 3 to 30 days – and there are many factors involved such as temperature of your home. Once you are happy with the taste of your sauerkraut, you can transfer it to the fridge. Your kraut should taste a bit sour and mildly crunchy. The longer it ferments, the more acidic/sour it’ll become.
- Keep it in the fridge inside the mason jar for the remainder of the time. The sauerkraut will continue to slowly ferment even while in the fridge so as days go by, you’ll notice the taste changing slightly.
- Serve as a side to your favorite dishes, or as a topping to nachos, tacos, or mixed in salads!
- The time that you let cabbage sit after adding the salt varies. I’ve seen texts that say to leave it for up to an hour. I only let mine sit for 20 minutes and that was enough time for the cabbage to release enough water. If you are having a hard time squeezing the cabbage or can’t get enough water, just let it sit for a little while longer. You don’t need too much liquid just enough that covers all of the shredded cabbage once it’s in the mason jar.
- Always remember to be as clean as possible when fermenting foods. I clean my mason jars, lids, and weights with boiling water before using them.
- It is recommended that you use wooden utensils and not metal because metal reacts with the salt and can ruin your ferment.
- Always keep an eye out for signs of: mold, drastic color changes, or bad odor. My kraut stayed a beautiful vibrant pink color, never had any mold and the smell was always delicious.
- Don’t just forget about your ‘kraut. Check on it daily if you can, even if you don’t open the lid you can look through the glass and check on it’s progress making sure nothing seems odd.
- Remember I am not a sauerkraut expert. This was my first time doing this and I am sharing that experience with you. 🙂
- It is common for sauerkraut to last for several months in the fridge – but I cannot vouch for that. Always inspect your kraut before eating it and if there are any signs of mold, throw it out.
- This recipe was adapted from Pure Joy Planet Culinary School
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Method: fermenting