Sauerkraut with Juniper Berries
It’s fall and cabbage is in season. I LOVE sauerkraut so I thought I’d have a go at making my own. It’s surprisingly easy. Slice cabbage fine, salt it, let it rest for a bit, add seasonings (if you want them), and squish the bejeesus out of it until you end up with a brine. Pop it in a jar, weight it down to keep the cabbage submerged, and wait. I used the super easy recipe, Bare-naked Sauerkraut, from Make Sauerkraut, but opted to add a tablespoon of crushed juniper berries I had kicking around. The post has a tonne of information about making sauerkraut.
- 1 medium-sized cabbage (2-3 lbs aka 1 kg)
- 15 ml iodine-free coarse sea salt
- 15 ml juniper berries crushed in a mortar and pestal
Remove any outer limp cabbage leaves and set aside (you’ll use them later…I didn’t have any so I just used parchment paper).
A kitchen scale comes in handy to weigh your cabbage.
Quarter the cabbage and slice crosswise, thinly, and place in a large bowl.
Sprinkle the salt over the top and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Next start massaging the salted cabbage with your hands until it starts to squeak (it really does). As the salt pulls the water out of the cabbage, the leaves will start to shrink and you’ll end up with a brine. Keep working the cabbage until you have a 2-3″ puddle of brine when you tilt the bowl.
Pack the cabbage mixture and into quart-sized (liter) wide-mouth jar. Keep pressing the mixture down as you go so that the brine rises above the top of the mixture and no air pockets remain.
Leave about 1 inch of space between the top of the cabbage and the top of the jar. Because we weighed out just the right amount of cabbage to fit in your jar, this should happen automatically. Add any left over brine to your jar and scrape down any cabbage so that it is all submerged.
If you saved any of the outer cabbage leaves, use it to create a layer that fits over the packed cabbage. Or cut a piece of parchment paper to fit. Weight it down with a 4 ounce jelly jar (without its lid). Put the lid on your jar loosely to allow any gases to escape. Let it ferment for 1-4 weeks.
Place the jar of fermenting sauerkraut in a shallow bowl (to catch the brine that may leak out during the first week of fermentation), out of direct sunlight. Wait a week before opening to sample.
Store in the fridge and use as you like.