- 2 large heads of cabbage
- Caldwell's Vegan Starter Culture for Fresh Vegetables
- 3 tablespoons of non-iodised fine sea salt
- 3 cups of unchlorinated water (at room temperature)
- Optional: about 1 teaspoon of caraway, juniper seed, clove, or any other flavours that you like.
- Cutting board and knife, food processor (optional)
- Container(s) for fermenting: A large crock or straight-sided plastic tub with an airtight lid, or large Mason jars with lids (2 - 4, depending on jar size)
- 3 mixing bowls (1 large and 2 small)
- Large wooden spoon or pounder, and 2 spoons for stirring
- Canning funnel (optional)
- Measuring cup
- A hard non-porous weight to keep the cabbage submerged (a stone, heavy plate or inverted jar lid)
- Discard the outer leaves and remove the core of the cabbage.
- Shred it into thin slices about the thickness of a dime, and if necessary, divide it into equal-size batches that will fit into your large bowl.
- Dissolve 3 tablespoons of sea salt in 2 cups of room temperature water and stir well.
- Dissolve the contents of the pouch of culture in a cup of room temperature water and let the solution sit for no more than 10 minutes. This will activate the starter.
- Add the proportionate amounts of starter and salt solutions to each batch of shredded cabbage and mix well for 10 minutes using your (clean) hands or a spoon.
- Place the mixture in your container. Pack down well to make sure there are no air bubbles.
- Allow the juice to cover the cabbage, leaving a space of some 2 inches above the mixture, and place the weight on top to keep the cabbage submerged. Put the lid on the container, but don’t seal it tightly until the end of the fermentation (step 9).
- Leave the container at room temperature (70ºF/20ºC) and let it sit for 7 to 10 days to adequately ferment. This time is required for bacteria from the starter to grow, transform sugars from the cabbage into organic acids and produce healthy components.
- Seal the container and put it in a refrigerator or a cool room (40ºF/4ºC) for the curing period. You can eat the sauerkraut at this stage, but it’s better to let it sit for 6-8 weeks. The longer you keep the sauerkraut refrigerated, the tastier it will be. This is due to the mellowing effect of the curing period. After opening, you can repack the sauerkraut in smaller containers or in vacuum packs. You can also freeze it for long-term storage.
Fermenting other vegetables: You can use other vegetables such as carrots, beetroot, turnips, parsnip, black or daikon radish. Make sure you wash these well, remove both ends and any major blemishes. For better results, you can replace 20% of the vegetable with cabbage.