Learn how to make kraut the easy way, with experts Tim and Arja Eastland. Watch the video, then follow their instructions below.
Gourmet Kraut : Tuscan Lime sand Oregano
We have been interested in fermenting our vegetables for years, mostly so we could enjoy the largesse from our garden throughout the year. We were put off a bit by the instructions at the time, which involved the use of a large crock, a special location for the process, the associated risk of spoilage, and the limitations to a menu composed largely of sauerkraut and kimchi, a notoriously strong Oriental cousin.
Learning that we could start our fermentation in the same jars that the kraut was stored in was a breakthrough moment. We tried the process ourselves and have never looked back; that was over 2 years ago, 70 batches, and 178 quarts of fine “gourmet” kraut, healthful and flavourful, and an ideal snack for any diet or lifestyle.
We learned that making kraut was far simpler and safer than we had been led to believe. The inclusion of a simple “fermentation starter” made the process spoil-proof. Here on the video is one of our favourite flavourful yet mild gourmet krauts.
1 head (3-4 lbs) organic green cabbage
1 Cup chopped Tuscan Kale
1 Cup chopped green onions
1 Cup Fresh (Greek) oregano, chopped
1 Cup Fresh mint, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 medium lime
1 1/2 Tbsp Himalayan Salt
1 Probiotic capsule
1) Cut and Grate the Cabbage:
Cut the cabbage into easy-to-handle sections, then chop it into pieces using a special cabbage shredder, a kitchen grater, mandolin, or the shredding blade of a food processor. Save a few of the large outer cabbage leaves to be used for “caps” in your jars.
2) Mix the Cabbage and Other Ingredients:
Mix the cabbage thoroughly in a large ceramic, glass or stainless steel bowl with other flavouring ingredients: kale, oregano, green onions and mint. Add some of the rock salt, lime zest and juice and begin the kneading process, crunching the cabbage leaves with your knuckles to break down the vegetables’ walls. As the bulk begins to diminish, add the remainder of the salt, juice and zest, and continue kneading. This process, taking 5-10 minutes, will result in a wet mass of crushed cabbage. At the last minute, add the fermentation “starter”— the probiotic— and mix thoroughly
3) Pack the Jars:
Pack the raw “kraut” mixture into (quart) jars, “Mason” jars capable of holding a tight seal. Using a large spoon, tamp the mixture down on all sides, making sure there are no gaps or bubbles in your kraut. Pack this mixture up to the shoulder of the jar. Then, using the large outer leaves, cut and fit a cabbage “cap” for each of your jars, useful for holding down the top layer of kraut shreds and keeping them from floating to the top of the liquid.
Now, using the remaining juice from the mixing bowl, cover the kraut mixture and the cabbage cap with about 3/4-1 inch of juice. If your kraut process is a bit short of liquid, add filtered or distilled water. Tighten the jars and place them out of direct sunlight and at normal room temperature.
4) “Burping the Babies”…. the Fermentation Process.
Over the next week and a half, on every second day, open the jars (now under pressure from the fermentation) and release the pressure. Spoon off any froth and place in a separate jar for later use.
At about the third or fourth “burping” (6-8 days), we find that the kraut has stopped generating any liquid, and even begins to “dry out”, at which point we add back the earlier overflow. covering the kraut cap with the liquid at each burping. Over the years, we have found that our desirable stopping point is day 9 or 10, and at that point, we remove the cabbage cap, reseal the jar, and place it in the refrigerator (or a cool storage bin).
5) Enjoying our work.
We start eating the kraut at once, simply because we are eager to taste it at the table with a meal; however, we also have jars that have lasted many months. Just store them in a fridge or cool place. The krauts will likely continue their fermenting at a much slower rate, and also will likely even taste a bit better as this slow process continues.