This week I made sauerkraut, and it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. My only experience with sauerkraut has been on hot dogs or with pierogi. I would eat the sauerkraut I made with either dish, and I find myself a bit confused about what to do with it. Read on for how I made it and what I would do differently.
Sauerkraut is an Eastern and Central European dish that has been adopted by other cultures. The first time sauerkraut was documented was in ancient Roman times, when the writer Cato mentioned pickled cabbage and carrots.
In German, the word means “sour cabbage.”
How to make sauerkraut
Making sauerkraut is pretty simple. You only need two ingredients — cabbage and salt. I used a 2-pound Napa cabbage and kosher salt.
- Wash your cabbage and discard bruised, discolored leaves.
- Cut the cabbage finely and put into a large bowl. Discard the core.
- Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to the bowl with cabbage. Using your hands, crush the cabbage and mix in the salt.
- Once the cabbage and salt have been mixed together, put the cabbage into a jar. A glass mason jar works best. You should pack as much cabbage in as possible, because any empty space may lead to bacteria in the sauerkraut.
- If you have empty space in your jar after you fill it with cabbage, fill the extra space with a salt solution. To make it, boil one cup of water and add a tablespoon of salt. Let it cool, and pour it over the cabbage.
- A few hours after making your cabbage, open the jar and press down on the cabbage to compress it.
- The amount of time you let the sauerkraut ferment is completely up to you — taste it often to make sure you like the flavor. Once the “sour” flavor is strong enough for you, put the cabbage in the refridgerator
I let my cabbage ferment for about two days before I put it in the fridge. I wasn’t blown away by my sauerkraut. Although I was impressed by the change from cabbage to sauerkraut in just two days, I didn’t cut my cabbage finely enough for it to be like true sauerkraut. My thicker version tasted like a salad dressed in heavy vinegar.
In the future, I’ll cut thinner strips of cabbage and use more salt.
Next week, I want to tackle making yogurt. It seems pretty simple to tackle yogurt, but Greek yogurt is another story. It involves extra steps but since it’s what I eat most often, I’ll try it.