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Fennel, red and white cabbage sauerkraut

  • A little tricky

Make this tasty fennel, red and white cabbage sauerkraut to preserve your veggies for longer. Delicious as a side dish or added to sandwiches.

Cabbage in glass jar

Just over a year ago, in Wells, Somerset, a new Guinness World Record was set for the largest vat of sauerkraut ever made – 357kg – at the Sauerkrautathon, organised by two of the South West’s premier fermenters, Jo Webster and Katie Venner.

This is the recipe used for the challenge – and was also a component of the celebratory sauerkraut cake. 

Equipment needed:

  • Colander
  • Scales
  • Large bowl
  • 1 litre jar – Kilner, plain, or a fermentation vessel, dishwasher-clean
  • Submerging mechanism – a plastic bag and a rubber band will do, or baking paper and baking stones, or a small glass jar

Dr Caroline Gilmartin is a fermenting specialist with a background in microbiology. She sells her fermented products in stores near her Bristol home. See everygoodthing.co.uk

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Ingredients

  • white cabbage 500g
  • red cabbage 200g
  • Fennel 100g
  • Fennel seeds 1 tbsp
  • Sea salt 16g

Method

  • Step 1

    Wash your hands and kitchen surfaces and remove any pets from the kitchen. Inspect your vegetables, cutting away any dead or suspect bits.

  • Step 2

    Fermenting with Dr Caroline Gilmartin, Every Good Thing (7th November 2019)

    Finely chop your vegetables. Remove the cabbage cores and cut them more finely than the rest. You can include the fennel fronds, although they often go brown when fermented (they are still fine to eat, however).

  • Step 3

    Wash the vegetables in a colander to remove any surface contaminants and wet the cabbage, which will help the salt dissolve.

  • Step 4

    Weigh your damp cabbage and fennel to find out how much salt you need to add. Adding 2% salt just means 2g of salt for every 100g of vegetables.

  • Step 5

    Fermenting with Dr Caroline Gilmartin, Every Good Thing (7th November 2019)

    Add the salt and squeeze the cabbage hard with both hands for 4–5 minutes. The vegetables will begin to take on a glassy appearance and you will end up with a pool of brine at the bottom of the bowl. 

  • Step 6

    Sprinkle the fennel seeds over the mix and stir through.

  • Step 7

    Fermenting with Dr Caroline Gilmartin, Every Good Thing (7th November 2019)

    Pack your cabbage into your glass vessel quite tightly, tamping it down with your fingers as you go to eliminate any large air pockets.

  • Step 8

    When you get to the jar’s shoulder height, stop packing cabbage and tip in the rest of the brine. Add a little more cabbage if there’s room. 

  • Step 9

    Choose one of the methods shown below to seal your jar and ensure there is no exposure of the ferment to the air. Leave the jar at room temperature for 10 days.

  • Step 10

    Taste to check that it is delicious, tangy and crispy. Once opened, store in the fridge. As long as you don’t introduce contaminants to the jar, it should keep for over a year, retaining its probiotic activity for at least six months.

How to seal your ferment: four systems

  Jar with a SteriKAP, which includes a plastic disc to submerge veg

Kilner jar with a smaller jar added to the top

Any old jar with a bag of brine and a rubber band

Vacuum-sealed bag

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