Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

Probiotic Recipe #2:  Sauerkraut – Red Cabbage

Aside from having 6-8x the vitamin C equivalent of green cabbage and powerful probiotic content, the deep colour of red cabbage reflects a strong concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, which have health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities.  Cabbage, especially in its raw fermented form is also revered by some as beneficial in supporting the treatment of ulcers and other stomach and digestive related issues.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 10-21 days (some leave it to ferment for up to 6 weeks)
Yield: fills 2 x 1Litre Jars

Ingredients

2 heads red cabbage
2T salt
1 1/2T juniper berries
1T caraway seeds

Special Equipment

  • Blender or food processor (optional)
  • mason jars or glass jars with rubber sealing

Instructions

  • Begin by removing the outer leaves of the cabbage it they are looking a little damaged. If they look fine, you should at least wash them off a little to remove potential contaminants.
  • Chop the cabbage. You may also cut it in fat ribbons about 3/8 – 1/2″ No need to grate it.  Then compost the dense nub that remains at its base.
  • In a large bowl, toss the sliced cabbage with the salt and let sit for 30-60 minutes until it starts to sweat.
  • Mix in the juniper berries and caraway seeds and place everything including any liquid at the bottom of the bowl into a fermenting vessel. Use at least a glass container that has the capacity to hold about 3.5 litres.
  • Press down very hard using your fists or other implement.
  • You’ll notice that you can squeeze out a little liquid which will pool at the bottom. After you tire of compressing it, place something with some weight on top of the cabbage to effectively continue pressuring the cabbage while you are resting. The salt will help to leach liquid from the cabbage.
  • Compress with your fist a few more times over the next hour or two and try to get the liquid level up higher. Your goal is to have the liquid cover the cabbage completely to provide an anaerobic environment within which the fermentation can take place.
  • If, after several hours or overnight, you can’t get the liquid level high enough, add some water (without chlorine please) to cover by at least 1″. Stir well to equalize the salinity level.
  • Place the weight on it.  A half-gallon glass jar is fine, but I’ve started using a clear plastic bag filled halfway with water and tied closed while allowing the bag to remain loose (not like how they fill the bag tightly when you buy a goldfish).  You can place that loose bag of water (make sure it doesn’t have any leaks) into your fermenting vessel and allow it to settle in and take the shape of the vessel.  In that way, a nice seal is made around the edge to keep oxygen and other potential contaminants out.
  • Cover with a clean towel and let it sit for 2-3 weeks. Feel free to taste it every few days to gauge the progress of the fermentation flavour.
  • Once it gets a nice tangy flavour, place it in the refrigerator.  I prefer to place in mason jars first so they are ready to hand over as gifts as desired. 
  • The fermentation should take about 10 days or so but that will vary with room temperature and other factors.
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