Ways to Flavor Your Sauerkraut
Although it’s not necessary to add any flavoring ingredients, if you like, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of whole spices, just one or a combination. Here are a few ideas:
- Juniper berries
- Caraway, fennel, cumin, coriander, dill, celery, or anise seeds
- Bay leaves
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whole cloves or allspice
- 10 tsp. fine sea salt, divided*
- 2 lbs. green cabbage, cored and shredded finely
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. flavoring ingredients (see below)
- In a bowl or measuring cup, combine 5 teaspoons of the salt with 4 cups of lukewarm water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, the remaining 5 teaspoons of salt, and flavoring ingredients, if you like, stirring to thoroughly combine. Transfer to a large, nonreactive container, packing it down. Let stand for 15 minutes, so the cabbage can release some of its juices.
- Check to see if the juices are enough to cover the cabbage. If not, add enough of the salt water mixture to cover. Cover the top of the cabbage with a double layer of cheesecloth, tucking it in at the edges. Set a plastic, glass, or ceramic plate on top of the cabbage, ideally one that fits just inside the container, to keep the cabbage submerged. Place something heavy on top of the plate, such as a bowl or a lidded jar filled with water.
- Cover the entire setup loosely with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside in a cool place (no warmer than 75°F) for 3 to 6 weeks, checking the sauerkraut a few times a week to skim any foam from the surface and rinse the plate. When the bubbling stops, the fermentation is complete and the sauerkraut is done, although you can taste it any time during the process, and if it’s done to your liking, it’s done.
- Transfer the sauerkraut to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.
- *While our preference is for you to always use fine sea salt, in this recipe it’s especially important—”regular” or iodized table salts have additives that can affect the fermentation process.