How to cook crispy sauerkraut in brine
Cabbage salting according to all the rules always seemed to me a very difficult task, requiring special cooking skills. More than once I saw how housewives squeezed cabbage with hands then put some pressure on it, stringed it with long thin sticks and I understood that such magic was surely beyond my power. I simply used to buy sauerkraut until I was taught how to make sauerkraut in brine, when literally within three days you get tasty crispy sauerkraut. Perhaps it is not as good for health as cabbage cooked in traditional way. But when cooking it there is also a process of lactic acid fermentation, though speeded up one. Most often one cooks cabbage in such a way in a 3 liter jar, so the amount of ingredients is mentioned according to this calculation.
- Cabbage – 4.5 pounds (2 kg)
- Carrot – 1 large piece
- Water – 3 pints (1.5 liters)
- Salt – 1 tbsp (heaped)
- Sugar – 2 tbsp
For souring it is best to take ripened cabbage of medium or late kinds with thick crispy leaves. It’s good if it tastes a bit sweet. Any carrot is fine, but it is better if it is ripe with sweetish taste and bright orange. As for the salt it’s better to use coarse, medium or fine salt, but not sodium chloride. We clean cabbage from upper leaves and cut it into pieces. Grate carrots on a large grater.
Mix it in a bowl.
Put cabbage and carrots densely pressed into a 3-liter jar. So to have as many vegetables as possible in, I ram them a little bit with such a masher. You may do it carefully by your hand. I am cooking a classic variant, but if you love spices you may put a bay leaf or pimento between the layers of cabbage.
We are cooking brine separately. For 3 pints (1.5 liters) of water we put one heaped table spoon of salt and two tablespoons of sugar, let it boil for couple of minutes until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
Cool down the brine to room’s temperature and pour it cooled into the cabbage. If the brine is hot, the cabbage may turn out to be soft.
We cover the neck of the jar with a lid (not tightly) or a gauze. You need to put a bowl under the jar as during fermentation the brine is going to brim over. We put the jar in a warm place.
On the second day you will see how the brine is flowing out and it’s normal as there is a sour acid fermentation.
The brine is disappearing so you can press down the cabbage a bit with a spoon so that it continues to stay in the brine.
Usually the cabbage is cooked 3 days in such a way. You determine whether it’s ready or not by taste and look: the fermentation process is ended, the cabbage is a bit lowered and the brine stops flowing out from the jar. You should lower down the cabbage to the maximum so that it would all be in brine, tightly cover it with a lid and put into a fridge.
That’s all, sauerkraut is ready. By taste it is not different from sauerkraut made in traditional way at all. You can eat it with onions and vegetable oil, use it in vinaigrette, stewed and use as a filling for pies and other dishes.
- When souring cabbage pay attention to lunar phases. The best time for souring is – rising moon, and even better – the 5-6 day. If you sour cabbage in a full moon, the process may go too fast, all the brine flows out and the cabbage turns to be too sour. If you sour your cabbage in waning moon it may turn out soft.
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