28 June 2018
- 10 kg of white cabbage (cleaned)
- 1 kg of carrots
- 250g (2.5% of weight of all other ingredients) of non-iodized salt
- 50g of caraway seed
- Clean the cabbage, remove any bad or green leaves, cut cabbage in quarters and remove the cores
- Peel the carrots
- Weigh carrots and cabbage to figure out how much salt you need
- Mix everything thoroughly in a sanitized fermenting vessel
- As you are mixing it, squeeze the cabbage with your hands, it will encourage juices to flow
- Use your fists to compact the cabbage, so that all of it is covered in liquid
- Put a big plate to hold the cabbage submerged. Put something heavy on top of the plat (e.g. jar filled with water) to hold everything down
- Leave the fermenting vessel to ferment for 1 week in 19C temperature
- After 1 week of fermenting you can start tasting the cabbage, if you want it to be more sour - leave it for longer.
- Once you are happy with the taste, you can put it in sanitized jars and keep it in the fridge. It should keep in the fridge for at least 6 to 9 months without spoiling.
The rule of thumb with any fermenting is - if it looks fine, smells fine, and tastes fine - it is fine. Meaning that if something will go wrong - it’s not going to be subtle. The only bad thing that i have seen happen to sauerkraut is yeast (or mould?) contamination, where the liquid becomes all slimy. Needless to say in that case the batch will have to be discarded.
Sauerkraut fermentation process is done by Lactobacillus bacteria. Ideal temperature for this bacteria to grow is 30-40C, however at temperatures that high, the enzymes in the cabbage will start doing their work and it will rot the cabbage (or something to that extent, I haven’t tried it). That’s why the temperature has to be kept low enough so that the enzymes do not spoil the cabbage.