- Two big bowls, about same size
- One extra tray for one bowl to spill into
- Pounding stick
- Three heavy books
- White cabbage, one whole head
- Salt (e.g. Himalayan), two tea spoons
- Caraway seed (whole), two tea spoons
How to make Sauerkraut
Shred cabbage, either with sharp knife or food processor.
Place shredded cabbage in one of the big bowls, add salt and cumin seeds.
Gently pound the cabbage until it releases some liquid.
After that place the other bowl on top so it presses down on the mixed and pounded contents of the first bowl.
Place the two bowls on the spilling tray and place the heavy books on top to help with the pressing action.
Leave in a quiet corner at room temperature for three days, saving up the overflowing liquid in the process.
After three days place the pickled cabbage in a screw top glass jar and keep in the fridge. The pickling process will continue there, but slower. With not much air in the container the sauerkraut will keep for a long time.
Keep any left over juice to start the next batch.
I only have a small food processor, and shred the head of cabbage in batches, adding the salt and cumin seeds as I go. I like cumin seed and it apparently helps with digestion. Experiment with other spices, cloves and chili and whatever else takes your fancy.
Make use the big green leaves on the outside of the cabbage, as long as they don’t have any earth or blemishes on them. See the fine white powder? That is the lactobacillus that helps with the pickling process. Shred the green leaves for the sauerkraut or use them to cover the shredded cabbage before pressing the other bowl on top.
This is the pickling process of old, with salt. Do not add vinegar, it only makes it taste sour, but it does not actually change make "pickled" vegetable more nutritious, as pressing and pickling with salt does. Go ahead, try it with other vegetables as well, red cabbage, kohlrabi. Be adventurous.
Apparently there are pressing gizmos available from kitchen shops, I never found the need to use any. Two similar sized bowls can be found just about anywhere, and so can a sharp knife for shredding. With these basic tools you make yourself yummy, nutritious and cheap food when your staying at the crib, flat, batch, motel or holiday home. When I’ve done it it felt almost like anarchy creating the real fast food once the pickling process is done. Sauerkraut is delicious and refreshing when eaten cold. It felt like really making the temporary abode my own for the time being.
Can it go wrong? Of course. Sometimes it smells really repelling, I mean, really bad, you’d want to get rid of it. Sometimes just the top layer seems a bit off, and it’s probably best to discard it. Underneath you might easily find a very fine sauerkraut. Experiment. Keep your tools and dishes clean. You might need more than three days at room temperature, depending on your climate.