At Elixir, we love fermented foods! They introduce live cultures (probiotic bacteria) into the body, and the lactic acid produced during fermentation helps us to digest protein and absorb nutrients. They’re also delicious!
Serve sauerkraut on the side of any savoury dish like you would a pickle or relish. My favourite way to eat it is in a New York Deli style cheese and rye bread sandwich.
Fermented foods don’t need to be made with added live bacteria as they will develop naturally, but you can add some Optibac to make sure you're getting an extra whack.
Here is a fail safe recipe combining a BBC Good Food recipe with the method from Optibac themselves (1)! This recipe is super simple even for the first-time sauerkrauter, so let us know how you get on.
- 2kg very firm, pale green or white cabbage (any leathery outer leaves removed), cored
- 3 tbsp coarse crystal sea salt (or 6 tbsp flaky sea salt)
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- Contents of 2-4 capsules Optibac ‘For every day EXTRA Strength’
Finely shred the cabbage, then combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the salt, and stir until well-combined. Sprinkle over the salt then massage into the ingredients for at least ten minutes. This is how the cabbage starts to release its brine – you want your cabbage to be dripping wet and softened. If it doesn’t start to release juices after a few minutes, add an extra sprinkling of salt.
Put the cabbage mixture and its juices into a sterilised jar. Press it down firmly with you hand or a weight, so that the cabbage is suspended below the juice.
Cover the sauerkraut with a clean cloth and rubber band, then place it in a cool, darkened room to allow it to ferment. Check it every day or so to ensure that it remains below the brine, pressing down once more if needed, and skimming any scum from the surface. Allow to ferment for at least three days, before checking for flavour and texture. We like to leave ours to ferment for up to two weeks, but experiment and see what works for you!