Ruby Red Sauerkraut
With a mother from Austria, sauerkraut was a regular side on my plate growing up. I learned to like it from a very young age. My mum always served it hot, to accompany the bratwurst (boiled sausage), pork, potato or dumplings, a very traditional Austrian meal. Sometimes, she would fry some bacon and fold the sauerkraut through, it was absolutely delicious, if you liked that kinda thing as a kid. We never ate it cold though and mum always bought the canned version, I didn’t think much about it at the time, why would I, I was too little to know or understand how amazing sauerkraut truly is and how good it is for you. It was only recently when I was helping out some friends, the raw sisterhood, that they told me all the goodness it provides. Brenda and Vivian are incredibly inspiring ladies, with their knowledge and passion and gift they carry with their ferments, I have them to thank as I have now started to eat it again. One night at the end of my shift, they handed me this huge bucket of sliced cabbage, left over from the nights work. I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to make some or not, but I politely said thank you and off I went. It sat in my kitchen for a whole day. I was thinking I’m not going to make THIS much sauerkraut, no way, who will eat it, apart from me. The following night, I opened up the bucket and threw in all sorts of spices, not really knowing what I was actually doing, got down on my knees and started pressing, pushing and pounding the cabbage down the get all the juices flowing, I added some salt and kept pounding, not too long after, about 7 minutes, it resembled sauerkraut. The girls ensured me it would work, so I pressed a plate on top, to cover the cabbage and stop any air coming in and left it out for 3 days. Every day I checked it, my kids couldn’t stand the smell that lingered in the house hours after! But it worked, it really worked, it was amazing. I made my first batch of sauerkraut! I jarred it up and put it in the fridge. I have some from 3 months ago and it still tastes great.
These days I have it for lunch and dinner, either straight out of the fridge on a slice of gluten free toast with avocado, or on top of a salad or as I grew up, on the side of my meal……Absolutely divine!
This recipes makes about 1 litre, I store it in a glass jar in the fridge after the fermenting process is done. If you are not a fan of garlic, use only one clove, as this recipes does make it taste and smell quite garlicy.
1/2 red cabbage, outer leaves peeled off
3 spring onions
3 small beetroots
1 small fennel
1 2cm cube piece ginger
1-2 garlic cloves
2-3 teaspoons sea salt
Shred the cabbage, either on a mandolin or food processor with the fine shredding blade. Either grate the beetroot or julienne it on the mandolin or if you have the double sided attachment for the food processor, use this to julienne your beetroot, and put into a large bowl. Finely slice your spring onion and fennel, add to the bowl. Grate the ginger and garlic and add to the bowl along with 2 teaspoons of salt. Now comes the hard work, you can either get on your knees on the ground and have the bowl resting against your thighs and start pushing and squeezing the cabbage mix. Or you can simply to this on your bench. I find I have more arm muscle when its on the ground. This may take up to 10 minutes, depending on how juicy the cabbages are. You may need to add the other teaspoon of salt, it really depends on how salty you want it.
What you are looking for is a wet mix, enough juices to cover your cabbage when pushed down. Put in into a plastic bucket with a weight on top to cover the cabbage, and put the lid on and leave it out in your kitchen for up to 3-5 days, depending on the temperature. In my house, cause it’s so humid, this process only took 3 days. Check it every day, by tasting a little bit and pressing down on the weight to the release the gases, making sure the cabbage is not exposed to air and is always covered by the liquid. You want it to taste sweet, yet sour. Not mouldy or rancid. Transfer to a glass jar, and put it in the fridge. This will last for months. Enjoy this delicious side with anything and everything.