This is a story about a woman who loves fermented food…but can’t afford to spend ten bucks a week on sauerkraut. Oh, what is a health foodie to do?
Spoiler alert: She makes her own damn kraut.
I love all the amazing local kraut companies out there and buy their wares occasionally…but when you’ve got a family to feed, it can really add up. You know what’s cheap? Cabbage. So if you can wait it out a few days, you can totally make your own kraut.
All you really need is cabbage and salt and a jar. Of course, I decided to glam it up just a bit and go with a Mexi-inspired take on kraut that features jalapeno and coriander seeds. If you want to keep it traditional, you can just add some caraway seeds instead.
For the first time fermenter, the idea of keeping food on the counter for days seems insane. But I promise, it’s not. You are literally surrounded by beneficial bacteria and they have your bac(k). The salt helps retard the growth of any potential spoilage bacteria until the fermentation gets going.
Kraut is a perfect place to get started because it is so simple…but also because cabbage is high in l-glutamine, a unique amino acid that is beneficial for gut health. Easy, cheap and healthy!! I have been so excited to share this recipe with you but it’s been impossible to organize time to photograph it!
In other words, life is cray and yet sauerkraut is so easy I could still make it happen. So can you.
Jalapeno Coriander Sauerkraut
- 1 small head of cabbage
- 2 jalapeños seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- Make sure that your work space is clean. Don't use grimy kitchen sponges or old towels to wipe down. Wash out a cutting board and a one quart (one litre) jar with hot soapy water and dry with a clean dish towel or paper towel. Set aside.
- Rinse cabbage well with cold water. Remove outer leaves of cabbage and cut out the hardest part of the core. Cut the cabbage into quarters and shred quarters finely with a knife.
- Place cabbage in a large bowl and massage the salt into the cabbage shreds until they begin to wilt. Leave the cabbage to sit as you prep your jalapeños (unless you've prepped your ingredients already, you keener!).
- In about ten minutes, check the cabbage and make sure that it is starting to release water when you squeeze it. If so, stir in the jalapeños and coriander seeds, then pack the kraut mix into the jar. Really press and pack it down to start releasing the brine.
- The key to a good fermentation is to keep the cabbage weighed down under the brine. You can do this a couple of different ways: with a fermenting weight you buy for this purpose...or my fave: fill a large ziplock with water and squish it into the jar. It should keep the cabbage down.
- Then place the jar on the counter, covered loosely with a lid (or a few layers of cheesecloth fixed with an elastic band) and wait.
- Check the kraut daily and keep pressing the cabbage under the brine should bits float up. You can use a chopstick to do this and to release any large air bubbles forming.
- How long the kraut takes depends on the weather and your taste buds. I left mine for five days but in the heat, things might be ready in three days...or you might want to let it go for up to seven for some extra tang.
- Use this kraut on tacos, sandwiches, grain bowls or as a side dish/condiment to almost any meal. And, if you are ready to take the home fermentation up a notch, you can try my fave kimchi recipe - essentially Korean sauerkraut - in my book, Un-Junk
Health note: I don’t recommend home fermenting if you are immune-compromised…talk to your doc first!