This past summer, during the height of my canning phase, I stumbled on a product, The Easy Fermenter, for making nearly foolproof sauerkraut and other probiotic-rich foods. There are other similar products out there, but this one had positive reviews and importantly sounded very, very easy (hence the name…) to use. I purchased a starter kit and got to work. So far I’ve made only pickles and sauerkraut; as usual my ambitions exceeded my available time. But I will – I will! – eventually get around to trying other recipes (like kimchi). Helpfully, when you purchase this product, you can sign up for occasional emails that include recipes as well as links to online courses and forums.
Below are mostly pictures, but I’ve included a recipe for Garlic & Fennel Sauerkraut. If you are wondering why this post is titled Adventures in Fermentation II, it’s because in November 2015 I published a post on making that funky natto stuff called Adventures in Fermentation: What is Natto?. Warning, that post is not for the faint of heart!Print
It couldn’t be easier to make delicious sauerkraut at home – especially if you have an Easy Fermenter or similar product. Flavorful and healthy, you can tweak the flavors to suit your tastes.
- 1 medium-sized head green and/or red cabbage, thinly sliced or chopped (save a few whole “leaves” for placing on top of the sauerkraut)
- 1 bulb fennel, stalk & fronds removed, thinly sliced or chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 Tablespoons kosher sea salt
- 2–3 1/2 quart clean Mason jars
- 2–3 Easy Fermenter lids, glass weights and vacuum pump
Combine the cabbage, fennel and garlic in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and thoroughly mix. Let the vegetables rest for about 1 hour, stirring the mixture occasionally. The cabbage and fennel will begin to wilt and give off water.
Divide the cabbage mixture between the jars. As you fill the jars, press firmly down on the cabbage. Leave an inch or so at the top of the jar. The cabbage should be completely submerged under liquid/water. If it is not, make some brine combining 1 tablespoon salt with 4 cups water and pour in enough water to cover the cabbage. Now top the mixture with the large pieces of reserved cabbage. Place one glass weight on top of each cabbage leaf.
Screw on the Easy Fermenter lid. No need to use the vacuum pump at this point, but you will need it later.
Place the jars in a dark, cool location. Check the sauerkraut after about 2 weeks. If it has reached the desired tartness, it’s ready to move into the refrigerator. If not, reseal the jar(s) and use the vacuum pump to remove the air from the jar(s). Only 1 or 2 pumps are necessary. Check the sauerkraut again after another week or so. It’s ready when it tastes good to you!
Remember to store the sauerkraut in the refrigerator once it’s reached the desired flavor.
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