My grandma, Omi and also my grandpa, Opi, have always been telling me stories of how they used to make Sauerkraut at home. Both had a very similar recipe and my mum still remembers how Opi used to get the biggest ceramic fermenting pot and chop the cabbage by hand. He would then stamp it with a large wooden stamp until the cabbage released its water. The best way to store it and leave it to ferment for weeks was in the cellar, it was cold, dark and a little humid, the perfect environment for lacto fermentation.
I have been experimenting with my own version based on the original recipe that was passed down and came up with something very delicious. It is actually so easy to make your own homemade Sauerkraut and if you are not too fussed about how the shape of the cabbage turns out, I find it is an amazing Thermomix recipe. You could of course shred it by hand as well or use a special cabbage grater. Depending on how you like your Sauerkraut, you can ferment anywhere from 5 days up to 2 months. The longer you leave the fermentation process going, the stronger your Sauerkraut will become. My Opi used to leave it for about 6 weeks. I found after 2 weeks it was really nice because I fermented at room temperature to encourage the optimum lacto fermentation.
Start by chopping the cabbage into large pieces, small enough to fit through the hole in the lid. Place the pieces in the mixing bowl. Chop 3 Sec. / Speed 5. If the pieces are not small enough yet, simply continue for another couple of seconds. You can also repeat this process if you want to double the batch and make a larger portion.
Boil a kettle and sterilise a large glass jar. Set aside.
Fill the cabbage into a large bowl and place the salt on top. Now, wash your hands and rub in the salt by massaging. This way you create your own brine. The cabbage should shrink quite a lot and you will see lots of liquid forming. You can take a little brak in between massaging until the cabbage has relesed plenty of liquid.
Add the caraway seeds to the mixture and mix up. Fill the cabbage into the sterlised jar and make sure the brine covers the entire cabbage. Use something heavy to place on top of the cabbage as a little weight. Cover the jar with a lid and leave it in a place that is no more than 22C in a dark spot for at least 1 week but up to 4-6 weeks.
Make sure to check the cabbage every day and release any trapped gas by opening and closing the airtight lid. It’s important that you keep the Sauerkraut at an even, cool room temperature while fermenting. If it is too cool, the ferment will take longer than you’d like, too warm and the Sauerkraut may become mouldy or ferment too quickly.
Once you like the flavour of the Sauerkraut, you can store it in the fridge for up to 6 months.