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Mise en place sauerkraut

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red cabbage (2 to 3 pounds/900 grams to 1.4 kilograms), quartered and inner core removed
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dill seeds

Directions

  1. Use a food processor fitted with the shredding blade or a sharp chef’s knife to cut the cabbage into very thin strips.
  2. Place the cabbage strips in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over the cabbage. Let the cabbage sit for 10 to 15 minutes to release its juices.
  3. Squeeze the cabbage in fistfuls to bruise and encourage the cabbage to release more of its juices.
  4. Add the coriander and dill seeds. Mix to combine. Fermentation is already beginning! Cabbage uses lactic acid bacteria for its fermentation. Bacteria turn sugar from the cabbage into acid giving Lacto fermentation (despite the name there is no diary). That is what makes the sourness.
  5. Transfer the cabbage mixture and remaining liquid into the jars. Use your fists or a wooden spoon to press down firmly on the cabbage. The cabbage needs to be jam-packed.
  6. By now, the cabbage will be anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters per jar. If you still don’t have enough natural brine to cover all the cabbage, mix ¼ teaspoon salt in one cup of water and pour over the cabbage until completely submerged.
  7. Now that you have pressed the sauerkraut down, there will be spare room to top the sauerkraut jars with the smaller one-cup jars. Add pie weights or water to the small jars to add pressure. Cover the top of the jars with a paper towel and screw on the sealing band. This will stop any outside particles from entering the sauerkraut but will still allow the aerobic process to continue. You may use your snap lids to close the jars, but do not seal them tight. Trust me, from experience, this ends in a tie-die sauerkraut explosion.
  8. Store the sauerkraut in a dark place (like a cupboard) at room temperature for three to four weeks. Out of direct sunlight! Check-in every two to three days. As sauerkraut ferments, it develops its own good bacteria that kills off harmful bacteria entering its environment. If there is a layer of scum on the top, this is an indication that there is too much air in the jar, so simply remove the scum and add more brine.
  9. When you’ve achieved your desired tenderness and pungency of sauerkraut, seal the jar with the jar’s original lid and store it in the refrigerator. Sauerkraut will last up to three months refrigerated. Enjoy! 


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