Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Simply Sauerkraut using White Cabbage, Fermenting Phase 2

Fermenting Sauerkraut

If you followed my Fermenting story a couple of weeks ago where I used  Red Cabbage, you might be interested to know that we are now eating my Purple Sauerkraut and we are really enjoying it with salads, soups and anything that I remember to add it to. You can find that story and the recipe here. We have enjoyed the second batch I made more than the first one,  which I found too salty because I added more brine thinking it had gone dry. I've since learnt that whilst fermenting, the cabbage will absorb the juices and expand to the top of the jar, and adding more brine can just make the ferment too wet and salty. So I won't be doing that anymore. The two purple bottles in the photo above are the third batch of Purple Sauerkraut using less carrot just because I didn't have as much as I thought I did. It won't make any difference. The third bottle is my first batch of White Cabbage Sauerkraut that this story is about. These are  my Top Shelf batches of Sauerkraut.

I am calling my next Fermenting session, Phase 2, as I am venturing into using White Cabbage, the more traditional version of Sauerkraut. However I have taken a leaf out of Sarah Wilson's book and used a couple of shortcuts. Instead  of all that slicing and grating by hand, I have used the food processor to grate the cabbage, and this becomes much less time consuming, particularly when preparing large batches of all that cabbage.

This is the simplest and easiest way to make traditional sauerkraut that I know at present, and I hope if you are reading this you can give it a try. The health benefits contained in this beautiful bottle of goodness are enormous.

N.B. (I use 1 tablespoon of salt to 800 g. of cabbage, 1/2 - 1 tablespoon caraway seeds)

White Cabbage Sauerkraut recipe


1 small white or red cabbage, rinsed, cored and cut into small wedges which will fit in the chute of your food processor
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Sprinkle of Mustard seeds
2 tablespoons Himalayan Salt Flakes (Depending on weight of cabbage, see note above)
(You can also substitute the caraway seeds  or add to the caraway seeds with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds or white peppercorns if you prefer those flavours or just happen to have those  spices on hand. They will be fermented in the process.) Besides adding  amazing  flavour  to your  ferment, the spices act as mould inhibitors or at least slow it down.

I was just reading in Katz's book on Fermentation  that Nasturtium leaves can also be used  as a mould inhibitor.  My nasturtiums  in the garden are taking off so I will try them in a subsequent  batch.


I shredded the cabbage in my food processor which saves so much time, or if you want to replicate the way sauerkraut has been made during previous European generations, you can either slice it finely or grate it by hand.

Place the cabbage in a large glass bowl and add the caraway seeds and the salt and toss the seeds and the salt through the cabbage with clean hands. I also added a sprinkle of mustard seeds as they are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories such as selenium and magnesium.

 Let this powerful brew sit for 30 minutes to activate the juices.

Green cabbage, caraway seeds, mustard seeds and salt and a sprinkling of mustard seeds.

Spoon the vegetable mixture into jars, allowing at least an inch or 3cm at the top of each mixture for juices and expansion because I assure you it will rise  to  the  top of the jar. It's alive.

Press down gently on the cabbage in the glass jar with a wooden implement similar to a mortar which will fit through the mouth of the jar, forcing the juices to the top of the cabbage. I very gently used my granite mortar as Mr. HRK is making me a wooden one, and the juices from the cabbage rose to the top as expected.

The cabbage then needs to be weighed down so that the juices stay at the top and the fermenting process can begin. I used the trimmed core of the cabbage to weigh down the shredded cabbage and help the juices rise above it. A thick cabbage leaf can also be placed on top and pressed down leaving space above it for the juices to rise, and they do as you can see in the photos below.

Seal your bottle loosely and keep at room temperature for 3 days. I open mine each morning to check that it is fermenting and to release the carbon dioxide, and you will see the bubbles moving.  I also push the cabbage down forcing more juices to the top and ensuring the vegetables stay submerged.The longer you leave it to ferment, the more sour and distinctive the flavour will be.

If you feel that your ferment really is drying out, it is important to only use filtered water to top it up as the chlorine will kill the bacteria needed for fermentation.

Your jar of sauerkraut can then be moved to the frig after 3 days where it will keep for several months, and the flavour will develop during this period however it can be eaten within a week, or even earlier if you are desperate to try it.

This is the same jar as the one in the top photo and as you can see  in the top photo the level of the cabbage has moved up to the top of the jar as the cabbage ferments.

 This week I have  cooked a piece of corned silverside in the slow cooker to have as a delicious standby for meals and sandwiches. The weather is warming up here with maximum temperatures of 26 deg., so salads are now on the menu for lunch and corned silverside, and my purple sauerkraut with a salad is tasty and great for our gut. After all aiming for a healthy gut is really why I am persisting with  making sauerkraut, although it is also very tasty.

After all of that shredding and massaging of the cabbage, it is lovely to sit down with a cup of delicious coffee made by Mr. HRK and relax whilst my sauerkraut starts to bubble away on the top shelf.

This is the latest batch of coffee that he has roasted himself, and then freshly ground before making this coffee in our Rancilio machine. It is as good as if not better than any coffee we can buy here. His Coffee Art is impressive as well. I feel a bit spoiled really when it comes to coffee that we enjoy at home.

Thanks for visiting and I would like to know if you have found this interesting or helpful. Making sauerkraut has been firmly embedded in European and American cultures for centuries because of the food preservation advantages and the health benefits, however it is interesting that we are only just starting to really embrace it in our own kitchens in Australia. I am learning  as I go with  this and do more reading  so it  is a work  in progress. I'd like to  hear of your experiences.

It's State of Origin tonight, so go Queensland and Pizza is on the menu.

Cheerio for now and have a good week.



  1. Love these experiments of yours! I bought some live sauerkraut in the supermarket it was $7 for a tub! Said it was alive but it has chilli in it and I am totally addicted to it. So I will need to make some or go broke! they very helpfully put the ingredients on the side :)

    1. Now that I have mastered the basics I should try spicing mine up too. I have plenty of chillies. It's a very healthy addiction, although it is meant to be eaten as a condiment I think. Thanks for your comment Julie.

  2. This looks wonderful Pauline! I'm a bit pickling fan and it sounds like you've made a delicious sauerkraut :D


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