Fermented foods are a fabulous synbiotic addition to your diet, offering both probiotics and prebiotics and are easy to make in your own home.
1 large cabbage (any type)
Sea salt (Maldon sea salt flakes are good – and you can also get the smoked variety) – crushed
Optional extras: garlic, chilli, spices of choice, other vegetables finely chopped
Place pieces of cabbage in a food processor and shred.
Chop any extras finely.
Place all vegetables and extras into a large bowl.
Add 2 tbsp sea salt and combine thoroughly.
Place some cling film over the top and press down to cover the mixture. Place a large plate on top and then place a heavy weight on the plate (I use a 12kg kettlebell!).
Leave for a couple of hours.
Remove the weight, plate & film and check how much fluid has come out of the mix. There should be a puddle at the bottom of the bowl. If in doubt replace the film, plate & weight and leave for another hour or so.
When you are satisfied with the amount of fluid produced, put a few handfuls of the vegetable mixture into a kilner jar and squash down firmly. Keep adding handfuls, making sure to firmly pack down into the jar – the fluid should start to rise to the top when pressing down. When all the mixture has been added, press everything firmly down and then add the rest of the fluid from the bowl, covering the vegetables. If there are any bits of vegetable floating on top, press back down. You can use whole cabbage leaves to cover the vegetables before adding the fluid, or a ziplock bag with fresh water in to keep the vegetables weighted down. Make sure that the fresh water and the fluid from the vegetables do not mix!! Seal the jar, place on a dish (to catch any fluid during fermentation) and cover with a cloth so that it is out of direct sunlight. It can be kept on the kitchen counter for approx. one week to ferment.
Make sure to open the jar every day to release the gas.
After about a week your sauerkraut should be ready. Open the jar and carefully remove the cabbage leaves/ziplock bag, checking that the top vegetables are still covered with fluid. If any have escaped to the top of the jar then remove.
The jar can be placed in the fridge, where it will stop fermenting. Sauerkraut and fermented vegetables will keep for months so it pays to make big batches and store in the fridge.