My friends Lidia and Bronek, who love food and love to eat healthily, decided that sauerkraut would be the answer to the probiotics they miss by not eating yoghurt.
Bronek cooks while Lidia cleans and sings, and here is the result of a session when he taught us his family secrets for making this magic fermented food.
He also reminisced on family times when his mother forced him to use his feet to pulverize the huge drums of cabbage and salt. His weeping and moaning about his stinging feet fell on deaf ears, as the family prepared for long Polish winters.
We don’t use our feet here, you might be relieved to know! And we formed a little team who grated and pounded and drank red wine, just as if we were in Poland! This might explain Lidia singing in the background.
We used 2 large green cabbages, approximately 2.5 kilos, and added the salt and then carrots. We split that into two to give us a lovely choice of two delicious and distinctive flavours. And as usual, feel free to experiment!
2 large green green cabbages approximately 2.5 kg, core removed and sliced finely
66 grams of sea salt, or Herbimare if you can get it
4 medium carrots, grated
First put the finely sliced cabbage in a thin layer in a flat bottomed tub, sprinkle with salt, and pound with a pestle to remove as much water as you can. Continue with layers, salt and pounding until used up.
Grate the carrots and mix with the cabbage, then split this mixture into two batches in separate bowls or tubs.
For the red sauerkraut, add two heaped teaspoons of Sweet Hungarian Paprika and two finely chopped red capsicums. Layer in clean, sterilized jars with a bay leaf and three or four peppercorns on each of 3 or 4 layers, depending on the size of the jar. Compact with your muddle stick or fork each time you finish a layer. Seal.
For the green apple sauerkraut, grate 2 fresh green apples with skin on, and add this and a tablespoon of caraway seeds to this mixture of cabbage, salt and carrot. Crush two teaspoons of juniper berries with the muddle on a board and add to the mix in layers with bay leaves. Compact hard after each layer and again when you’ve reached the top. Do not over fill.
Burp and compact each jar 3 times a day for the first three days, then just burp every day for 7-10 days. When it tastes good, serve!
Bronek drains the juice off the top and they drink it, and he swears his health is proof of its goodness.
Thank you Bronek, Lidia and Heather our other pounder. This recipe is great to do with a team.
Do you have a fave sauerkraut recipe you’d like to share? Be our guest!