This basic wild sauerkraut recipe is a great introduction to home fermenting. Once you feel confident, try swapping out carrots and turnips for other veggies such as kale or radishes and experimenting with different seasoning mixtures. Hate fennel? Omit it. Love garlic? Add a few finely slivered cloves.
Prep Time: 30m
Cook Time: 3 to 5 days
Servings: Makes 1 Quart
1 large head green cabbage, sliced as thinly as possible (use a mandoline if you have one)
2-3 carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
1-2 turnips, grated on the large holes of a box grater
1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel or caraway seeds, lightly crushed
4 peppercorns, lightly crushed
4 juniper berries, lightly crushed (optional)
- Put all the vegetables in a large bowl along with the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the salt, seeds, peppercorns, and juniper berries (if using). With clean hands, toss and squeeze the vegetables until they start to soften and release their liquid (about 5 minutes).Taste the vegetables for salt level and adjust with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon if needed. Pack vegetables tightly in a large wide-mouth jar, pushing down on them with a wooden spoon or your fingertips with as much force as you can until the level of liquid rises above the vegetables.
- Take a smaller jar with a lid, fill with water, and place within the kraut jar, pressing down on the vegetables until they are submerged in liquid. Cover with a clean tea towel and secure with a rubber band. There should be breathing room between the small jar and the large jar.
- Leave out at room temperature for 3 to 10 days. Check once daily to be sure the vegetables stay submerged, pushing down on the small jar so the liquid rises. It will look like a lava lamp after a few days!
- On the third day, start tasting the kraut. It's ready when it tastes good to you; otherwise leave it longer, tasting it every day or two. When it's to your liking, remove the smaller jar, put a lid on the kraut jar and refrigerate.
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