Happy New Year! Now that we’re in 2018, I have a very important question to ask you: Have you made sauerkraut at home yet?
If so, then you’re awesome.
If not, then you’re still awesome, and you can be even more awesome by making a simple batch of this homemade sauerkraut right in your kitchen! I know that fermenting food can be a little intimidating, but making your own sauerkraut is a really easy place to get started. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to make and this photo tutorial shows you each step to make it even easier!
It’s been way too long since I made a batch of homemade sauerkraut so this week I decided to get back into the swing of things with a spicy and flavorful jalapeno sauerkraut!
This jalapeno sauerkraut recipe is inspired by the cortido kraut made by Firefly Kitchens (their cookbook Fresh and Fermented is seriously awesome!) and combines fresh cabbage with jalapeno, carrots, onions, oregano, garlic, and ginger. It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and is a great way to boost immunity and improve your gut flora.
So let’s get started and kick this year off right!
Jalapeno Sauerkraut tips:
- Fresh cabbage is vital to this recipe. You don’t want cabbage that’s been sitting around for weeks getting all brown. Fresh cabbage has more moisture, which makes it easier to create the brine needed for fermentation. I highly recommend buying local cabbage from a farmers market and choosing organic if possible. Rinse the cabbage to remove any dirt or debris before using.
- Use a ceramic crock or a glass jar for fermenting. (I use the cermic crock from my crockpot, pictured above.) Since salt reacts with metal, you won’t want your sauerkraut sitting around in a metal bowl.
- Do not use iodized salt because this can affect the bacteria in the fermentation process. Sea salt and kosher salt are great alternatives.
- You can also adapt the spices in this recipe if desired. Although I wouldn’t change the ratio of sea salt and cabbage (unless you need to add more to create more brine; see the notes below the recipe), you can switch up the other ingredients. Don’t like oregano? Try thyme! Not a fan of ginger? Leave it out! Want it spicier? Add more jalapeno!
- Temperature affects the fermentation time. The warmer your kitchen is, the faster the sauerkraut will ferment. Since it was a bit cooler the week I made this, I let mine ferment for 7 days, but I would recommend checking it every day or so as it may ferment much faster in your kitchen if it’s warm.
- 1 head organic green cabbage (about 2 pounds), cored and shredded
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- Add the shredded cabbage and carrots to a large ceramic crock and mix with sea salt.
- Using clean hands, massage the cabbage to work the salt in and help break down the cellular walls.
- Leave the cabbage to sit for about an hour.
- At that point, the cabbage should be much softer and there should be a fair amount of liquid (brine) in your bowl. Mix in the onions, jalapeño, oregano, garlic, and ginger.
- Add the cabbage mixture to a wide-mouth glass jar and pack down, until the cabbage is covered with the brine. (see note if you do not have enough brine)
- The cabbage must stay submerged below the brine so add something to keep the cabbage weighed down. (I typically use a glass of water because it fits nicely inside of the jar. If you’re using a large jar or a ceramic crock, you can also use a plate to keep everything submerged.)
- Allow the sauerkraut to ferment for at least 24 hours and then taste it. Be sure to check the brine level and make sure the cabbage stays submerged. Ferment for at least 2 - 3 days, and up to a week (for a stronger taste) if desired.
- Once the sauerkraut has achieved the desired taste, store it in the fridge.
- As long as it stays submerged below the brine it will easily keep for months.