- 3kg cabbage – the pointy ones work well
- 2 tablespoons salt
Keep a couple of large clean outer cabbage leaves whole.
Slice the cabbage very finely either with a knife or on a mandolin (use a mandolin glove if possible – so brilliant for not grating fingers as well as cabbage!)
Place the cabbage into a large bowl, sprinkling with salt as you go. Begin massaging the cabbage to release the juices – this can take a while so do it when you are not rushed. You could use a pounder which can make the job easier on the hands, but get your hands in there some of the time to get your own personal bacteria into your kraut.
When the cabbage starts getting wet, transfer to a press or cover with cling film actually touching the cabbage and weight it down. Leave for a couple of hours. When you come back to it, the cabbage should have released quite a lot of liquid and be covered. You can also just keep on pounding or massaging the cabbage. You are looking to get the liquid right up over the cabbage because this is the fermenting medium. Whatever is not covered by liquid will rot and spoil.
When you have enough liquid, transfer the cabbage to whatever pot you are going to leave it in for 6 weeks to ferment. Pack it in firmly and place the reserved whole leaves on the top. Place a weight on top of these leaves, pressing down to make sure the liquid comes over the top. A good weight is a glass jar filled with water or a stone from the beach that has been boiled.
This can be eaten straight away, but for the best probiotic properties you need to leave the cabbage alone for 6 weeks to mature. Make a note in your diary.
When the kraut (as it will now be) is done, transfer it into smaller jars and refrigerate. Each jar must still have liquid covering the cabbage or it will begin to rot. Additional flavourings that can be added at the beginning:
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 black peppercorns
- 6 juniper berries
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 cloves
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- Red peppercorns
- Spring Onions