Monday, 19 September 2011

The sauerkraut post!

We adore sauerkraut at home. My husband (Will) really enjoys making it and has taken over the making of all the sauerkraut at home, though, I have a few ideas I'd like to experiment with so will let you know how they go!

Sauerkraut is one of the most beneficial foods you can eat. It is raw, so retains the nutrients in the vegetables, but even more important than that, the fermenting process means that it is absolutely packed with the amazing bacteria lactobacillus which keeps our guts healthy, it is full of enzymes to aid digestion, and high in vitamin C to give our immune systems a boost! How about that for a super food?!

 You can make a basic sauerkraut recipe with just cabbage and salt, but all sorts of vegetables can be added such as beetroot, carrot, kale, ginger, garlic, herbs and spices. As long as the majority of the mix is cabbage, you can really experiment with it.

It tastes delicious as a side with meats, fish and potatoes, on salad or as a topping on crackers and bread. Both the girls often ask for it on it's own as a snack and adore it in multi grain flat breads with houmus and salad, this is a popular packed lunch option for school and pre-school!

Here is a basic recipe from Will's blog 'culture THIS' for you to start with!

Sauerkraut
2 cabbages
1 tablespoon of decent sea salt (assuming 2 small cabbages weighing about 500 g each - see salt guide for more information on salt quantities)
a large bowl (preferably made from glass or ceramic)
a suitable jar (see container guide for more information)
a pair of clean hands

Steps:
  1. First, take the outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside, we will use these later. Then cut in half and remove the cores - also set these aside as they are also useful later on.
  2. Next shred the cabbage using a knife or food processor. It is best to shred it quite fine (no need to be obsessive about it though) as this will make it easier to make the brine later.
  3. Once the cabbage is shredded, place in the bowl, add the salt and start crushing the cabbage until it goes soft and wet (this will take a few minutes).
  4. After the cabbage has become quite wet, leave it for half an hour or so, and the salt will continue to extract more water, creating more brine. In the meantime this is a good time to sterilise your containers with boiling water and have them ready to place the cabbage into.
  5. After the half hour start stuffing the jar with the cabbage. As you place the cabbage in, press down quite hard, which will eliminate air bubbles and you should also notice that enough brine will rise up and more or less cover the cabbage. Keep filling the jar until you get to about one inch from the top (don't worry, this doesn't need to be millimetric).
  6. At this stage you should be able to press down on the top of the cabbage and the brine will cover it - we need to keep it that way (submerged) while it ferments. For this, use the cabbage leaves and cores you set aside at the beginning: wash them thoroughly, create a 'cap' with the leaves to put on top of the cabbage, and use the core (shaped as appropriate) to keep it pressed down when you shut the lid.
There, you should have a jar of soon to be sauerkraut ready to store. Store it at room temperature, preferably out of direct sunlight for about two weeks, then open and enjoy!




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