This is Gill Jacob's recipe. Gill is a health writer. She's based in Kentish town. She's also a fellow of the Weston A. Price foundation, an American foundation which promotes healthy diets based on animal products, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.To find out more about her work and learn about fermented food, you can visit her blog here.
Gill recommends trying a small amount of sauerkraut (a teaspoon) at first as your body needs to get used to it. It's not the kind of food that you can eat by the bucket load, at least not at the beginning. However, I can testify that it tastes amazing. It's a powerful food experience and, apparently, it is also very beneficial for your health as fermented food contains lots of enzymes.
Just be aware that it is not something that you will be able to consume straight away. You'll have to wait for one or several weeks.
You can see photos of the workshop given on Tuesday evening by Gill Jacobs on our Facebook page.
-½ kg fresh white cabbage
-2 carrots grated
-2 sticks of celery
-1 onion, red or white
-½ turnip grated
-2 cloves of garlic chopped
-1/2 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
-1 hot red deseeded chillie (optional or any form of
hot red pepper, fresh or dried)
-1 1/2 tablespoons of good quality sea salt per 1kg of vegetables
1. Chop or grate the cabbage finely or coarsely (depending on your preference).
2. Cut up the cauliflower into very small pieces, together with the celery.
3. Chop the onion. Chop the chilies, after deseeding, very small. Take care with the chilies not to touch your eyes after chopping.
4. Mix all the vegetables together, and sprinkle in the sea salt. With practice you will not need to measure out the salt but will do it by taste and feel. You will need more salt in hot seasons, and less in cold. Salt pulls the water out of the vegetables, and this brine then allows the vegetables to ferment and sour without mould. Take comfort in the fact that sea salt is entirely different from industrial table salt, and will give you a boost of minerals rather than hypertension.
5. Now comes the hard work! Place vegetables and salt in a clean plastic bucket (or in a wide mouthed crock). Tamp down with your fists or whatever is to hand that works to press hard to release the water in the vegetables. This can take up to 10 minutes, so be prepared to work on the floor for extra downward power.
6. Transfer to a jar, or leave in the crock if you have one. Press down so that the vegetables are submerged in the water, and cover with a clean weight such as a plastic zip lock bag filled with brine(in case it leaks), or a glass jug or jar filled with water. Some people use a cleaned up stone to do this job, or better still a glass stone. Finally cover with a cloth and put aside. Every now and then press down on the weight to make sure the sauerkraut is covered by brine, as the salt continues to do its job.
7. Examine the sauerkraut every day or so. If you have some mould on the surface this can be removed without fear of contamination. With time the taste gets stronger. After a week or so taste and when you get the taste you like transfer to the fridge.
It is possible to do salt free krauts, but they will not taste as good, because salt really does bring out the sour flavours during fermentation. Salt free krauts are not so crunchy.