I’ve known the benefits of fermented foods for some time now and I’ve been consuming things like sauerkraut, kombucha and milk kefir on a regular basis for around 2 1/2 years. For me they have certainly boosted my immune system and I rarely have a day when I am sick. I haven’t had antibiotics for well over two years and I put that down in part, to me keeping my system boosted throughout the year, with special attention in the risky seasons. I’ve been making my own milk kefir and kombucha for a while, but haven’t had the confidence to try sauerkraut. And honestly we have an amazing vendor at our local farmers’ market who makes amazing kraut so I was always happy to support him.
Recently he held a workshop to teach people how to make their own sauerkraut and I attended.
Amazingly simple. Incredibly tasty. Beautifully crafted kraut.
But I am a lazy cook and the thought of massaging cabbage by hand for 20 minutes really put me off. So I developed this method for making wild fermented sauerkraut in my thermomix. Ancient method, modern equipment. So if you have a “thermie”, why not give it a go – it’s quick and easy and so, so healthy.
1 apple (I used a granny smith because I had it on hand)
White cabbage – enough to make the total mix up to 500 grams (knowing the exact weight is really important)
10 grams of salt
I use these quantities because they fit in the spare jars I have. If you want to make smaller or larger quantities, the golden rule is that the salt must be 2% by weight of the other ingredients. So 2% of 500 grams is 10 grams. If you want to use a kilogram of vegetables, then add 20 grams of salt etc.
Place aside one nice looking outside leaf of your cabbage – don’t chop this one up.
Quarter and core the apple and place in the thermomix bowl and chop for 2 seconds at speed 5
Add one third of the cabbage, chop for 2 seconds at speed 5, then add another third of the cabbage, chop for 2 seconds at speed 5, then finally add the remainder of the cabbage, chop for 2 seconds at speed 5. (This might seem a bit tedious and you might ask yourself why you wouldn’t just throw it all in at once, but in my experience I find that the cabbage at the bottom gets over chopped and some doesn’t get chopped so well. Adding it in batches seems to give a slightly coarser and more even chop.)
Add the salt and enable the reverse function. Set the timer to 7 minutes and the speed to stir (less than 1). You must make sure the reverse function is enabled so it doesn’t continue to chop.
After 7 minutes, place the whole lot in a jar, squashing it down and adding any juice which is left in the thermomix bowl to the jar. Finally take the outside cabbage leaf you kept back, fold the edges into the middle and make a nice “cap” for the kraut. Push that down onto the top of the mix until the liquid floats over it.
Screw the lid of the jar on and write today’s date on the outside of the jar. Add three weeks to that date and write that date on your jar as well.
Place the jar in a dark cupboard. On the third day, quickly release and re-tighten the lid of the jar to release some of the gases. Do the same again on day 5 and day 7. Don’t take the lid completely off, just twist it open enough to hear the gas release and then replace it. Leave the kraut a further 2 weeks until it is ready to eat. This time can vary depending on your climate. In warmer weather it will ferment more quickly and in colder weather it will take longer. If you have tried sauerkraut before you will be able to smell when it is ready – it mustn’t smell too vinegary or you have gone too far.
I use it as a side dish with anything I am eating, about a tablespoon 1 – 2 times each day is enough to give your immunity a nice boost.