In one of our articles we advice how you can preserve vegetables by fermentation. Lactic acid fermentation is an ancient method of preserving food. Different typse of vegetables are all placed in a stoneware pot or large jar, a little salt water is added, then the pot is sealed and the rest is left to the lactic acid bacteria. This is a complicated process that takes place because of the activities of enzymes. It is a process that retains all the original vitamins and minerals of the vegetables, and adds amino acids and vitamins. The lactic acid bacteria increase in number at a great rate, and help to stop the vegetables spoiling and other bacteria getting into the jar. At the end of the fermentation process, which may take several weeks, depending on the temperature -the ingredients that were put into the container at the beggining will have transformed into an extremely nutritious food.
How can we make sauerkraut?
1. The best type of cabbage to use for sauerkraut is white cabbage. It does not make any difference whether the long-lasting round, firm cabbages that can weigh up to 8 kg are used or the ruffled Savoy cabbage.
2. Remove the outer leaves, cut the cabbage in half and remove the stalk.
3. There is a special gadget for cutting the cabbage into strips, but is possible to use a long kitchen knife or a machine for slicing bread.
4. The best container to use is a stone fermenting jar which has a lid and a water rim. The water rim makes it possible to prepare sauerkraut without using salt.
5. Before putting the shredded cabbage into the jar it must be washed thoroughly. Rhen the salt is added.
Traditionally salt made up 5 percent of the sauerkraut but it is possible to make it with half this amount. Additional spices can be added if desired, juniper berries and carraway seeds help the fermentation process.
6. Fill the jar slightly more than half full with the white cabbage, which will now be so thoroughly shredded that it will produce enough liquid to completely cover the sauerkraut.
7. To ensure that the sauerkraut is successful, make sure that the cabbage is covered by liquid at all stages of the fermentation process. Press the cabbage down with a platenand weigh down.
8. Fermenting containers are especially designed to keep their contents compact and submerged. Fill the rim with water and place the lid on so that it sinks under the water. This makes the container airtight and ensures that the cabbage will not go moldy. The gases produced can still escape.
9. The cabbage should be stored in a place with air temperature of about 18-22 grade celcius for 14 days. Then it should be moved somewhere cooler with a temperature of about 6-10 grade celcius.
These temperatures help the fermentation process. Sauerkraut takes about 4-6 weeks until it is fully fermented. It tastes delicious raw.
10. If the sauerkraut is stored in its fermentation jar, it should keep from the fall it was made until February of the following year.
Homemade sauerkraut is delicious during winter months. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
Cooking ideas with sauerkraut? Try it as a soup.
For which you will need:
1 red bell pepper
3 Tbs sunflower oil
400 g sauerkraut
5 cups vegetable stock
125 ml dry wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground caraway seeds
1 Tbs paprika
125ml creme fraiche
Finely chop the onions, slice the scallion into fine rings deseed the bell pepper and chop into short, narrow strips. Pan fry in the oil for about 3 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, pour over wine and stock, then add the bay leaf and caraway. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the paprika powder just before serving. Garnish with creme fraiche.