Published by W. W. Norton
Editor's Note: Do you have an abundance of fresh cabbage on your hands? Then this recipe for Home-Cured Sauerkraut will be just what you need to make the most of the bounty. You need only three ingredients to make the sauerkraut, which will then be ready to eat in about two weeks. This cured cabbage will be a delightful addition to a number of meals. While there's nothing wrong — and everything right — with eating sauerkraut on its own, you can pile it on a hot dog or serve it with sausages; the recipe's author shares a few tips for serving it below, too. This is one easy preserving recipe you'll want to use again and again!
Curing your own cabbage results in delicious bright sauerkraut and a fresh tart flavor that’s far superior to the bagged version at your grocery store. It is so easy to do it’s well worth your while. The only caveat is that it’s a two-week fermentation, so plan ahead. You can use any kind of cabbage, but ordinary green cabbage results in the deepest flavor and sturdy texture.
After the cabbage is cured, the best way to serve the sauerkraut is braised in half pickling liquid and half chicken stock or water (use less or more stock or water to decrease or increase the acidity). Bring to a simmer in an ovenproof sauté pan on the stovetop then move it to a 300-degree F/150-degree C oven for up to 30 minutes, until ready to serve. Add a bay leaf or other aromatic seasoning as you wish.
Cooking MethodCuring, Preserving
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Recipe CourseSide Dish
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and TextureCrisp, Salty, Savory, Tart
Type of DishVegetable
- 17 cups/4 liters water
- ¼ cup pus 2 tablespoons/200 grams kosher salt
- 1 green cabbage, about 3 pounds/1.5 kilograms, thinly sliced or shredded
Combine the water and salt in a small pot and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and let cool, then chill.
Combine the cabbage and brine in nonreactive container. Cover the cabbage with a piece of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, then weight the cabbage and cloth down with a plate, pressing the plate down so that the cabbage is completely submerged. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a cool place for 2 weeks (no hotter than 70 to 75 degrees F/21 to 23 degrees C, or no beneficial bacteria can begin to thrive.)
Drain the cabbage, reserving the brining liquid; the cabbage should have a pleasant sour-salty flavor and although its green color will have paled, it should still be crunchy. Strain the brining liquid into a pot and cover and refrigerate the cabbage. Bring the brining liquid to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, then chill.
Pour enough of the cold brine over the sauerkraut to cover it completely; discard the extra brine. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
2005 Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn