Once you get in the habit of making this, your intestines will love you for it! Sauerkraut contains large amounts of the Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C, plus helpful digestive enzymes and bacteria such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus. Many communities in Eastern Europe consumed sauerkraut throughout the winter months. Health researchers believe this was an important factor in the extraordinary longevity of these people.
1 kg cabbage
1 T sea salt
1 T caraway seeds
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 knobs grated ginger
1 T curry powder
1) Slice the cabbage finely. This is a big job to do by hand, but good knife practice! The quickest way is by using a food processor with the slicing attachment.
2) Combine with the salt (and any of the optional additions) in a large bowl. Massage salt into the cabbage. This takes a few minutes but needs to be done thoroughly. As you do this the cabbage will start to shine with moisture. You can also pound the cabbage with a blunt wooden rolling pin or similar. This will also help to bring out the moisture.
3) The cabbage will have already reduced in bulk. Transfer into a stainless steel or ceramic pot for pickling. Something with straight sides is best so that the cover can sink.
4) Place a plate on top of cabbage. This needs to fit as close to the edge of the pot as possible and still be able to sink as the sauerkraut packs down. Cover the whole top of the pot with a plastic bag and then put a heavy weight on the plate. A nice round river stone (scrubbed well) is ideal. Now tie the plastic bag around the pot so that flies cannot get in.
5) Leave in a cool place, and check regularly. The plate will sink and shift and you may need to move the weight. Water in the sauerkraut should rise within two or three days to cover the cabbage and possibly the plate. When the cabbage is covered with liquid reduce the weight to something just heavy enough to keep that level. Now you can check it less often, perhaps once a week (more often in hot weather).
6) You may find a little bit of mould on top, or if some of the cabbage is not completely submerged it may start to go brown (rot!). Don’t worry, just skim it off, clean the plate and plastic bag and continue. Within two weeks the sauerkraut should smell nicely sour. If it is starting to bubble visibly (a little bit of foam is OK) it may be too warm. Move it somewhere cooler.
7) Leave it for up to a month, until the liquid smells and tastes sour like a mild vinegar.
8) Transfer it into jars and refrigerate. This sauerkraut will keep and improve for a long time — a year at least, if it is well made and kept cool.