For the last month we’ve had an incredible run of good weather. All this heat has made fermenting quite a challenge! My kefir grains both dairy and water are reproducing at a great pace, multiplying like crazy. My rye sourdough has not been behaving and I have kombutcha turning to vinegar by the gallon. I am so run ragged attending to all my beloved cultures, feeding, refreshing and keeping them happy, that it’s almost become a full time job!
Making sauerkraut can be tricky when the weather is this hot so you will need to keep your jar of fermenting sauerkraut in a cool spot and be vigillant about pushing the cabbage down below the brine to avoid spoilage. Sauerkraut or anything fermenting will ferment at a much greater speed when the temperatures are warmer. With this in mind I’m pleased to say I’ve had a great success with this turmeric, carrot, cumin flavoured sauerkraut which is literally like eating sunshine out of a jar!
Over the past few weeks I’ve also been trying to encourage my son to eat more fermented food. Never an easy task, but even he has given this one the thumbs up. The additional spices of cumin, fennel, garlic and ginger give it a depth of flavour which seems to balance the sourness he’s not so keen on. I’m hoping this is the start of educating his taste buds so that he loves it as much as I do. I shredded the cabbage very finely using a mandolin, this allowed the texture of the cabbage to maintain its crunch but not to be so coarse as to warrant endless chewing on his part. Either way it has proved to be a great hit and for that I’m very grateful!
Turmeric, Cumin, Carrot and Sauerkraut
Makes enough for a 1 litre jar or 2 500ml jars
1 Green Cabbage (950g in weight)
1 large Carrot
2 Green apples
1 Large piece of Ginger (approximately 2”)
4 Pieces of fresh Turmeric root
3 Cloves Garlic
2 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tsp Fennel seeds
1 tsp Ground Turmeric
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
Trim the base from the cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Save the outer leaves to cover the cabbage once it is in the jar.
Slice the cabbage in half length ways. Slice each half lengthways into 3 segments. Cut out the tough core. Slice each segment crossways into thin shreds (3mm) or shred using a mandolin.
Put the shredded cabbage in a large bowl or container. Spread it out, breaking up any clumps.
Quarter, peel and core the apple. Grate the flesh coarsely and add to the cabbage , mixing well with your hands.
Grate carrot and add to the cabbage and apple mixing it all up with your hands.
Grate the ginger, garlic and turmeric (you would be wise to use gloves as otherwise your hands will stain yellow) add to the cabbage.
Sprinkle with the salt.
Massage and squeeze the cabbage to create the brine. Repeat the massaging every 10 minutes. After about 20minutes the cabbage will start to glisten as the salt draws out the moisture. Leave for 30 minutes to 1 hour, massaging regularly, until you can see a decent sized puddle of brine (about 7cm across) when you tilt the container.
Add your spices, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric and black pepper
Meanwhile, wash and sterilise your jars. Allow to cool. You can also run them through the washing machine.
Place a jar lid on one of the reserved outer leaves. Cut round the lid to make a circle that will fit snugly into the neck of the jar.
Pack handfuls of the cabbage mixture into the jar, pressing down with your fist, or a rolling pin. You need to press very hard so that the brine rises above the top of the mixture and there are no air pockets. Pour any brine remaining into the container. Make sure there is at least 2.5cm of space between the top of the cabbage and the top of the jar. Place the jar on a plate and leave to ferment at room temperature. Every now and again open the jar to let out any gas which has accumulated and also to keep pushing the kraut below the brine.
Keep tasting till it’s the sourness you like, depending on the weather it will take anywhere between 1 – 3 weeks.
When it tastes to your liking keep in the fridge.
* Note, when it is hotter you may need to add more salt as your sauerkraut will ferment much faster than when it’s cooler. The added salt will help to slow down the fermentation. When it’s cooler the opposite is true.