5 1/2 years of food blogging and quite some more of cooking … it took such a long time for me to attempt one of the most iconic German dishes, Sauerkraut. The ‘Krauts‘ – the view from outside doesn’t leave any doubts. Although Germans weren’t the first that developed the idea of lacto-fermented cabbage.
I, for my share, have made already a few experiences with wild fermentation – homemade yoghurt, Kimchi ,water kefir -, learned about the health benefits, especially for digestion and as source of vitamin A, B and C (Did you know that Sauerkraut was the main proliferant of Vitamin C for sailors since the 18th century?). But somehow I always forwent the obvious. Until lately…
It took a picture of Luisa’s golden Sauerkraut on Instagram and a sudden even more direct connection to krauts that made me finally start my first own kraut fermentation.
What came out were those two colourful krauts: a bright golden fermented cabbage with flavours of ginger and especially turmeric, and a bright red with earthy tones of beetroot and a hint of orange. The first batch didn’t keep long. It was a too tempting ingredient to add to all kind of dishes: sandwiches, salads, veggie bowls, scrambled eggs,…
And the personal connection? We are moving into the krauts! In a bit more than a month, after years of searching we finally found our place, our tiny house! …which lies in the Filder area, probably Germany’s most famous growing area of cabbage, especially sweetheart cabbage.
I couldn’t be happier… and at the same time melancholic and a little bit afraid. For sure exciting, adventurous days lay ahead. And perhaps next year I’ll harvest my first homegrown cabbage from our garden? 😊
golden Sauerkraut: ½ cabbage (about 700-800 g), 2 carrots (about 200 g), 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric, ½ teaspoon turmeric (ground), 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons sea salt
red Sauerkraut: ½ cabbage (about 700-800 g), 1 beetroot (about 200 g), 1 teaspoon grated ginger, zest of ½ orange, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon caraway seeds, 2 teaspoons sea salt
Prepare two large mixing bowls and rubber gloves (!).
Remove outer leaves of cabbage. Cut in quarts lengthwise. Cut out stalk, then thinly slice cabbage and transfer equally to the two bowls.
Wash and roughly grate carrots for the golden Sauerkraut. Peel and grate beetroot for the red Sauerkraut (gloves!).
Add spices to each bowl and start kneading: Massage cabbage until it starts to get soft and loses juice.
Now fill the cabbage into 2 sterlized jars. Press to pack it tightly and the the cabbage is covered with juice (The jar doesn`t have to be full). Leave some space on top for the veggies to expand during the fermentation process. Clean lid and rim of the jar and close lid, but: make sure that the gases that will develop during the fermentation can escape. You achieve this by either remove the rubber band of the jar or by putting a layer of plastic wrap in between the lid and the jar. Anyway it is adviceable to place the jars in a baking dish or a deep tray for any juice that might drip off. Leave the jars to ferment at room temperature for 2-4 weeks. If you like to, you can divide the kraut into smaller jars now. Store the Sauerkraut in the fridge or at a cool, dark place and it will keep up to 1 year.