Vegetarian recipe ideas
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First, make sure the non-metallic bowl and the large wide-necked glass storage jar (approximately 1.5 litre) you will be using are scrupulously clean. Remove one large outer leaf of cabbage and set to one side. Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the core and discard. Shred the rest into thin strips and pile into the bowl, sprinkling with the salt as you go. Add the grated carrot, if using.
Leave to soften for 10 mins then start rubbing the salt into the cabbage with your hands. It will feel like you need more salt at this point but don’t be tempted. As you keep massaging, the cabbage will soften as the liquid is slowly released. After 10-15 mins the cabbage will have reduced to about a quarter of its original size – it will be limp and in its liquid in the bowl. Mix in the caraway seeds, then pack the cabbage into the jar, squashing it down between each handful.
As you push the cabbage down, the liquid should rise to just cover it. Tuck in the reserved cabbage leaf over the top and press down firmly to ensure the liquid is covering the shredded cabbage (if you need extra liquid for topping up, dissolve 2 tbsp of sea salt in 475ml of boiling water and allow to cool fully before using). Cover the jar loosely with a cloth or food wrap, so that the fermentation gases can escape, and tie with a rubber band or string. Set aside in a cool dark place.
Over the next few days make sure the liquid is still covering the shredded cabbage, pressing down if needed – you will notice bubbles starting to form. Allow the cabbage to ferment like this for 3-4 days before tasting it. It can take several weeks to reach full flavour, which is according to your taste. Once you’re happy with it, put on the lid (not too tightly) and store in the fridge. The sauerkraut will keep in the fridge for up to six months.
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