Fermented Cabbage – Step by Step

This is a very simple and reliable method to make fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) at home. In five years I am making it, the process never went wrong and every time I made it, we had crunchy, delicious and healthy product, which can be consumed on its own or used as an ingredient for different dishes.

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What you need:

  • 2-3 kg cabbage
  • 5-6 carrots
  • salt, 16-18 g per 1 kg of cabbage
  • glass, ceramic or enamel coated container
  • plate or another round object to keep cabbage covered with juice
  • heavy weight to keep cabbage compacted and avoid air bubbles

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What you do:

The whole process is shown on step by step photos. The cabbage head was 3.6kg, which gave 3.0kg of shredded cabbage and I used 48g of salt.

  • do not wash the cabbage, simply discard outer leaves which are dirty, damaged or have traces of insects. Cut the head in quarters and shred cabbage thinly leaving the core out. I prefer using mandoline slicer on 1mm. It gives juices practically instantly when I massage cabbage with salt

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  • grate carrots

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  • wash you hands thoroughly
  • weigh shredded cabbage and calculate the amount of salt necessary, use salt 16-18 g per 1 kg of cabbage

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  • distribute shredded cabbage and grated carrots into separate bowls (600 to 800g of cabbage per bowl)

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  • add salt to cabbage and carrot and massage the mix together until liquid appears, I do it in several portions

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  • combine all portions together in one container

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  • compact cabbage very tight to avoid any air bubbles, put the plate to keep everything down and covered by liquid (brine)

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  • put something heavy to keep the plate in place

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  • cover  the glass container to avoid exposure to light and leave it on the counter

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  • after 24 hours gas bubbles will start to appear on the top of the liquid; it is a sign that fermentation process has started
  • leave container on the counter for 5 days

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  • after 5 days transfer fermented cabbage into separate glass jars or containers, pack it tightly to avoid any air bubbles and keep refrigerated

Fermentation process depends on the temperature in the room, but even under different temperatures cabbage will be ready to eat after 5 days. The process of fermentation will continue in the fridge, and as a result, fermented cabbage will slightly change in taste and texture. It will become softer and less crunchy, and will develop more sour taste. Dense and compact cabbage is the best to use for fermentation. White cabbage is the most popular one, but red cabbage can be fermented, too.

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It might be the case that when cabbage is shredded not as thinly as I do, the time for fermentation can be extended.

The final product is rich in probiotics, minerals (Ca, Mg) and vitamins (B,C,K). It is also a good source of iron, potassium and fibre. Fermented cabbage can be used as a side salad with potato dishes, added to other salads (fermented cabbage and beetroot salad on the photo below), as well as added to soups and casseroles. It goes very well with any sausages.

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