Oh, sauerkraut. The gateway to fermentation – and quite possibly the easiest dish to prepare in the history of food. Trust us. Head garden intern Mallory prefers to use red cabbage in her kraut, as it imparts a deep jewel tone to the dish.
Cutting board & knife
Large mixing bowl
1-quart Mason jar with airtight lid
Jelly jar, small enough to fit in Mason jar
1 medium red cabbage head
2 teaspoons sea salt
Spices, as needed
Rinse the cabbage. Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and compost them. Cut the cabbage in halves, then quarters. You can also core the cabbage. Chop the cabbage into strips, coarse or fine – it’s a matter of preference! Sprinkle salt over cabbage and toss to mix. Use your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage. After a few minutes, the salt will draw water from the cabbage and the leaves will feel limp. Massage for up to ten minutes. Stuff the cabbage into the quart jar as tightly as possible. Pour the liquid brine from the mixing bowl into the jar. The liquid should cover the cabbage. Use a smaller jar to weigh down the cabbage in the jar. Put the lid on the quart jar, but don’t screw it all the way on. Place the jar of cabbage and brine in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and let it sit undisturbed for a few days. A couple times a day, push the cabbage down under the brine – as it ferments it will start to expand. Make sure the liquid covers the cabbage! When the cabbage reaches preferred sourness, put it in the fridge.
The sauerkraut should keep for about a month in the refrigerator. At any point in the process, you can add herbs or more salt to change the flavor. Caraway seeds are the classic addition, but fresh fennel and dill seed make tasty additions as well. For a unique but familiar taste, add pickling spice.