This delicious, good-for-your-gut sauerkraut is full of festive flavour. It beats braised cabbage hands down and is brilliant with leftovers on Boxing Day and beyond.
Makes about 1 litre
1 red cabbage
1 apple, unpeeled, finely diced
1 heaped tbsp sea salt
10 cloves and/or a grating of nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
2 star anise
4–5 slices of fresh ginger
3 bay leaves
Zest of 1 orange or 2 clementines
1 cinnamon stick
- Always use sterilised jars and thoroughly clean equipment.
- Use sea salt. Avoid table salt with iodine and/or anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.
- If water is needed, opt for filtered or mineral water. Most tap water contains chlorine, which can inhibit fermentation. You’ll want to rinse your veg in it, too.
1 Peel off the first few leaves of the cabbage, rinse, pat dry and set aside. Finely shred the rest of the cabbage. Pile it into a large bowl with the apple, salt and cloves. Scrunch together for 5 mins or until the mixture releases about 6 tbsp juice.
2 Add the remaining spices, ginger, herbs and zest, and give the mixture a final scrunch. Tuck in the cinnamon stick, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for a few hours or overnight.
3 Pack into a sterilised jar (a large 1–2 litre one, such as a big Kilner jar is ideal), pressing it down to help the cabbage release more of its juices. Set the big cabbage leaves on top and press down so that the leaves are fully submerged. Set a little jam jar on top of the mixture and weigh it down (or a sealed ziplock bag filled with pebbles works well). Secure with a lid and leave at room temperature in a warm, dark place for 3–4 days, or as long as 2 weeks, opening the lid every day to release any gases and check the liquid still covers the veg.
4 The best way to know if the cabbage is done is to taste it. If it tastes like kraut, it’s kraut. If it’s too salty, it’s not quite ready. Once you’re happy with it, pop it in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 6 months.
Turn to page 39 of October's The Simple Things for more preserving recipes, including spiced blackberry vinegar, woodchip-fermented chilli sauce, dried apple rings and dried mushrooms.