After an afternoon of thinning and harvesting the garden beds that we shared this summer as part of a backyard garden series in Whitehorse, a group of us learned how to make single jar batches of sauerkraut!
Making sauerkraut is one way to preserve some of the harvest for later, and because the cabbage is fermented, it forms lactobacillus's probiotics which are supposed to be extra good for you and your gut!
This method is super easy. Once prepared, the sauerkraut is stored in a cool place, like the back of the fridge or root cellar, for a few months, to be pulled out right around the winter solstice when it can be enjoyed almost like crisp fresh cabbage - or so i have been told! (our first tasting is still months away).
Step 1: Equipment and Ingredients:
- freash cabbage head
- non idodinized salt - sea salt or kosher salt
- cutting board and knife
- mason jars
- boiling water - kettle/pot
- plastic wrap
- cool place to store for 4 months
Step 2: Prepare the Cabbage
Remove any wilted outer leaves from the cabbage and cut the head in half from top to bottom. This will allow it to be laid flat on the cutting board.
Beginning at one end, cut thin slices off the head - cut them as thin as you can! (smaller than an 1/8" in thickness if possible). It takes practise to slice it this thin, it is almost as if you are trying to shave off one layer at a time. Don't include the solid core of the cabbage in your shreddings.
You can either cut the entire cabbage head up this way, or stop once you have a sizeable pile cut.
Step 3: Add the Salt
Line up your clean mason jars, and add one tsp of sea salt (non-iodized) to each pint jar.
Step 4: Pack the Jars
Add cut up cabbage to each jar, packing the jar(s) up to just below the top.
Our cabbage was cut a bit thick (photo 1)! When we got better at cutting it thinly, we replaced some of the thicker cabbage (photo 3).
Slice more cabbage if you need to, and continue to fill the jars until they are all packed.
Step 5: Add Boiling Water
Add boiling water to each jar until it covers over the top of the cabbage. Remove a bit of cabbage if the jar is too full to cover completely with water.
Step 6: Seal the Jars
Add a layer of plastic wrap over each of the jars, before adding your metal lids. This will protect the lids from being corroded by the salt water.
Tighten, but don't over tighten the lids :).
Step 7: Shake It Up!
Shake it baby, shake it! This will dissolve and distribute the salt in the water.
Step 8: Store It for Later!
Thats it. Once your jar(s) of cabbage have cooled to room temperature, tuck them away in the back of the fridge or cool root cellar, and try to forget about them for a few months :).
This particular recipe and method must be kept cool and is intended to be opened and eaten around the solstice (Dec 21).
Warning: Because this method involves making sauerkraut in a sealed jar, if it warms up too much, the cabbage will ferment more rapidly, produce more gas, and might become too pressurized - you don't want your jars to explode, so be sure to keep your sauerkraut cool!