- 4 heads of cabbage
- 4 teaspoons of Celtic salt
- 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
- 1 bunch fresh chopped dill
- Remove outer cabbage leaves and set aside. You will need 3-4 large leaves for the crock.
- Quarter each head of cabbage and in small portions put it into a food processor until finely chopped.
- In a large bowl add the cabbage to the salt and massage the salt into the mix with your hands. This is done a few times over in batches that fit into your bowl like kneading bread. Massaging the salt into the cabbage draws the water content out of the cabbage and you end up with a wet mixture with brine covering the cabbage.
- Mix through the caraway seeds and chopped dill as you finish massaging each bowl full of cabbage.
- Lay each mixed bowl of cabbage into the crock and pack down firmly as you go to remove as many air pockets as possible. The cabbage mix should be submerged by its own brine by the time you have finished packing the crock.
- Place some whole cabbage leaves on top of the mixture with the stone weights to keep the cabbage below the water line during the ferment process.
- Air lock with the lid and water moat for about 2 to 3 weeks depending on ambient temperature. You will notice bubbles escaping through the moat regularly during the ferment and the moat will need topping-up with fresh water to maintain the seal. Do not be tempted to open the crock and check as this will introduce oxygen to the ferment.
The crock has a water moat that acts to keep the kraut ingredients air-locked so that airborne yeasts and mould can not contaminate the fermentation process. There is a moment of truth with every batch when you open the crock lid to break the seal. If you have been successful the entire house fills with a pleasant fermented vegetable smell and you can relax. On the odd rare occasion the batch gets contaminated and the crock opening can be a disappointing experience.
You can usually check the batch just by smell as the human nose is very sensitive at determining what is OK to eat and what is not. For additional peace-of-mind you can test the acidity of the mixture with a pH indicator strip. The pH of the mixture should be about 4 as an acidic mixture will ensure no nasties can grow in the kraut.
Put into jars in the fridge and enjoy with salads, breakfast, anytime. The kraut can be eaten immediately but will also keep for months in the fridge and probably continue to grow stronger during that time.
The jars in this photo are actually re-purposed coconut oil jars but you could also buy some from the kitchen shop.
A crock can be purchased for approximately $200 and is a most important investment in health. Buying live culture kraut at the health food shops is about $20 per 500ml. Where as I made 10 litres for about the same price.