The best sauerkraut I’ve ever tasted was in Berlin at a beer garden. Served warm along side a fresh pretzel. It was sweet, quenching, and down right one of the most memorable snacks I’ve ever eaten.
Sauerkraut remains one of my most favorite foods and I’ve been making it at home for several years. I always play around with adding different accents but the recipe below has proven to be the stand out: purple cabbage with caraway seeds and dulse. The caraway seeds gives it nice aromatic earthy taste and the dulse (a seaweed) gives a punch of minerals and antioxidants. And the purple cabbage? Purple cabbage is full of vitamin c and antioxidants - and is a part of a “eating the rainbow” lifestyle.
Sauerkraut is jammed packed with good bacteria (aka probiotics) which supports a healthy gut and good digestion, offers our bodies minerals, vitamins, and is rich in antioxidants.
Purple Cabbage: has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A great source of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, manganese, and contains a fair amount anthocyanin polyphenols (an antioxidant & what gives it its purple color). What an amazing vegetable!
Sea Salt: Unlike regular table salt that has been stripped of any trace minerals and has added dextrose (sugar) - sea salt is less processed and all its minerals in tact; iron (notably in Himalayan salt), magnesium, calcium, zinc, along with other trace minerals depending on where it‘s mined from.
Dulse Flakes: Seaweed is a power house when it comes to nutrient density. Dulse is high in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, B6 and B12. Seaweed supports the liver filter toxins from the blood, supports the thyroid, and protects the body against heavy metals.
Caraway Seeds: These tiny guys give a big bang when it comes to trace nutrients and flavor. Caraway seeds give a delicious aromatic flavor profile and are a popular addition to sauerkraut, and I‘m right there with ‘em. They‘re a good source of antioxidants, protein, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
1/2-1 head of purple cabbage
1/2-1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp caraway seeds
3-4“ dulse (or 1 1/2 tbsp dulse flakes)
fermenting jar (at least 20 oz and up to 1 gallon)
small plate that fits in the circumfrance of the jar
heavy weight (such as a glass bottle)
Grind the dulse into flakes (if using whole dulse). I use a coffee grinder and it works great.
Cut the cabbage in half and begin to thinly slice it - as thin as you can - you can also use a mandolin (and remember, a sharp knife is essential!). Place the cabbage in a bowl and add the sea salt through out. Begin to massage the cabbage with your hands, squeezing and kneading it. You want the cabbage to start excreting water (you‘ll see this after about 5 minutes or so of massaging). You want to be able to squeeze water out of the cabbage very easily. The mixture will be softer and a little translucent.
Now, taste the cabbage, it should be salty! If the brine isn’t salty enough, add a little more salt and massage/mix thoroughly. The salt is the preserving agent and if there is not enough, your batch will go sour faster (less salt speeds up the fermenting process). But, too much salt can halt the fermenting process - I‘ve read different numbers, around 3 tbsp for every 5 lbs. of cabbage. Once you have this down, add the caraway seeds and dulse flakes. Mix thoroughly.
Add the mixture into your fermenting container (I use a wide lip quart sized glass jar, but you can use anything as long as the mixture has about 1/2 inch space up top). Pack the cabbage firmly down, the brine should cover the sauerkraut. Place a small plate on top of the cabbage to keep the mix submerged and add the heavy weight on top. Some things you can use: wine bottle, glass water bottle (filled), or a heavy rock/paper weight. None of the cabbage should be exposed to air.
You can use a big piece of cabbage on top of the cabbage (below the plate) to protect the mixture from getting exposed to air. Sometimes I do this, but I haven‘t found it‘s necessary.
Place the container in a cool, dark place. Rinse the plate everyday. Check for mold (should not occur if the salt content is good).
After five days taste it - You can place it in the refrigerator once you enjoy the flavor, anywhere from 7 days to 3 weeks. I like mine around 10 days, I place it in the fridge, and enjoy over the next few weeks, but it’s good for up to 3 months.
Enjoy as a side to any any meal!