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homemade sauerkraut with dill and caraway

Posted May 09 2011 12:00am
i officially love sauerkraut. my love for it has been growing over the past few weeks, since i started my first batch of homemade. and i am now addicted.

sauerkraut is simply just pickled cabbage. but there's a variety of ways you can make it, and a bunch of recipes that i went through in order to find 'the one' - so in a mo i'll let you all in on my sauerkraut making secrets...

my first wonderful jar of homemade raw sauerkraut


but first, a little info about why on earth you would ever bother to make sauerkraut: 1. it's delicious. i've never really had sauerkraut, and so i wasn't sure if i'd like it. fermented cabbage sounds gross, but with some dill and caraway (the traditional blend) and a few weeks in the fridge, it is almost addictive.  2. it's convenient. it's the perfect thing to keep in your pantry or fridge and use when you've run out of fresh veg. it's a great accompaniment to anything. 3. its cheap. seriously, i can buy one whole cabbage for 50-80p, and then all i need is salt. that's then enough for a whole jar of sauerkraut! 4. it's got anti-cancer isothiocyanate and sulphuraphane - these are preventative substances thought to prevent cancer growth. and they are just naturally living in this raw cultured cabbage amazingness. 5. it's loaded with vitamin c - sailors used to take it with them on long journeys to prevent scurvy. 6. it's good for your gut - the lactic acid in the sauerkraut helps create an awesome inner ecosystem and helps keep your digestion full of the right acids so it can do it's job properly. if you're having digestive issues, then this should clear things up. 7. it's fun to make - i thought the process would be quite monotonous, but it turned out to be just like a school science experiment, checking each day for progress of bubbles and water levels and colour change! 8. there are so many different varities. think  kimchitsukemonosuan caiatchara ...

i've mostly eaten it alongside salads, even though it's a traditional accompaniment to sausages.

so how do you do it?
 - start by finely slicing a cabbage (red or white), keeping one or two of the outside leaves for later  - then for every cabbage you chop, add in 1 tbsp good sea salt (don't ruin it with bad salt!)  - in a very large bowl start scrunching the cabbage together with your hands. feel free to add some dill and caraway seeds or other veggies at this point. taste it whilst raw to see if you like the flavouring... adjust to suit.  - keep scrunching and pounding for 10 minutes until there is a good quantity of liquid at the bottom of the bowl  - pack the wilted cabbage tightly into a glass jar, placing one or two of the saved leaves on top to protect it.  - push the mix down until juice covers the top of it, then place a glass jar filled with water on top to weight it down (depending on the jar you use, you could put a plate on top, then a weight)  - cover with a tea towel and elastic band to hold in place, and leave in a room of about 18-21c (not in full sun) for 4-5 days at the least. check every day to make sure that the liquid is above the cabbage. top up with distilled water if necessary.   - leave the cabbage to ferment as long as you prefer. the longer you leave it the tangier it will taste... i left mine 7 days and then placed it in the fridge. 3 weeks later, on my last mouthful, it tasted perfect!
check out this article for more ideas on the benefits of raw fermented sauerkraut! and ideas on what other things to add into your pickling jar. or see this video of how to make a simple raw sauerkraut...
i hope you join in on the sauerkraut fun! any questions, please ask...
currently reading: by mark sisson - still very informative and interesting!
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