“This is a characterful ferment both in looks and taste. I make it all year round and use it in salads, soups and stews. You will see several recipes throughout the book that include this magical ingredient, as the rather pungent but incredibly delicious sauerkraut will bring a real kick to your dishes. Adjust the levels of heat and garlic to your liking, but if you want a sauerkraut that is full of medicinal properties as well as great flavour, I would suggest that you don’t be shy with either. It makes a fantastic cure for a cold or a hangover.”
MAKES A 1-LITRE JAR
- 1 red cabbage, core removed
- salt (the desired ratio is 1 tablespoon salt to 1kg cabbage, so the exact amount depends on the weight of your cabbage)
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes or
- 1 small Scotch Bonnet
- chilli, finely chopped
Before you do anything, put on some food gloves!
- Thinly slice the cabbage into long strips, preferably on a mandolin or using a food processor. Place in a large mixing bowl, add the salt and massage into the cabbage quite aggressively for about 5 minutes. This is going to be quite physically demanding and oddly therapeutic at the same time. You know the cabbage has surrendered when lots of juice comes out and the flesh becomes very soft yet still crunchy. Add the garlic and chilli, and massage for another minute.
- Pack the cabbage tightly into a sterilized 1-litre preserving jar (putting it through a dishwater will do the job) in layers, making sure there are no air bubbles or gaps as you pack down each layer; you can use a special wooden tamper for fermentation or simply your fist to do this. Continue until the jar is almost full and the cabbage is submerged in its own juice. Weigh it down with a glass ramekin. Make sure you leave a 5cm gap at the top or the jar will overflow once the process of fermentation begins.
- Close the jar tightly and leave for salt and time to do their magic out of direct sunlight at room temperature for 10–14 days (naturally, things ferment a lot faster in the summer). It’s best to stand the jar inside a bowl in case of spillage. Make sure to check it every day, opening the jar to let the cabbage ‘burp’ or release its gases and pressing the cabbage down into the brine.
- Taste the cabbage after 10 days and leave to ferment for longer if needed. Once you are happy with the taste, transfer the jar to the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process. It will keep in the cold for up to 6 months.