Sauerkraut is often one of the first fermented food that is recommended to curious DIY-ers that are interested in improving their own gut health. There is good reason for this, It's beyond easy to make, it requires very little special equipment, and the results are delicious and come with many nutritional and health benefits.
Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it's best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your large glass jar is washed and rinsed of all soap residue and make sure you have clean hands too.
Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage.
Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
Transfer the cabbage and grated carrot to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the seaweed salt over top and add the kefir starter.
Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first it might not seem like enough seaweed salt, but gradually the cabbage will become watery and limp. This should take 5 to 10 minutes.
If you'd like to flavour your sauerkraut, add any of the optional ingredients now and mix to combine.
Add the cabbage into the jar by grabbing handfuls of the mix and packing it into the glass jar. If you have a large funnel, this will make the job easier.
Every so often push down the cabbage with your fist or with a spoon. Pour all of the liquid into the jar.
Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage and press down. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid. Make sure to leave a 3-4cm gap at the top as the sauerkraut will grow/ expand.
The sauerkraut needs to be submerged under the liquid, so add some filtered water if needed to achieve this. Pop the lid on tightly.
Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 7 days.
As it's fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and keep it at a cool room temperature. I put it in my pantry.
Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.
Start tasting it after 3 days. When the sauerkraut tastes good to you, place it in the fridge. You can also allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There's no hard-and-fast rule for when the sauerkraut is "done" just go by how it tastes.
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