CF, DF, EF, FF, GF, GRF, MF, NUTF, SALF, SOYF, SUF, YF
Remove several outer leaves of cabbage (have about 8-10 on hand). Use a food processor and shred all veggies in batches. Place veggies in the crock pot or pickling pot. Puree the apples with water in a blender until smooth. You can add in sea salt if you like, anywhere from 1 TBsp to several TBsp (or none). Pour this over the veggies and use hands to completely coat the veggies.
If you've added salt, the salt will help the veggies to "sweat." Push down on the veggies with your fists to release water, wait 5-10 minutes, then push down with your fists again to release more water. If you didn't use any salt, still do this push down method 2x. You may have to add more water either way, because you want those veggies to be submerged under the water.
Once there's some water on the top, place the cabbage leaves to make a nice cabbage "patch" on the top. You want to completely cover the water with the leaves and overlap the cabbage leaves (use all the leaves you put aside). Now push down on the leaves to squeeze more water out from the veggies. Make sure you really push the cabbage down so that there is some liquid at the top. You can in a bit of water if more is required :)
Place the weights that come with the pickling crock on top, place on the lid and done! If you are using a crock pot, place a dinner plate on top of the leaves and then place some bricks or a really heavy object on top of the plate. This weight is crucial to keeping the fermented veggies submerged under the water. You can also place the crock pot on a plate as well, as sometimes the liquid will seep out.
Let the veggies fermented for at least 7 days. They will still taste raw, but you can let them continue to ferment for 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks and even up to 2 months!
Take off the weights and compost all the cabbage leaves. Remove any mold using paper towel. If there is mold floating on top of the water, scoop all the water and mold out. If any mold is on the top of the fermented veggies, scoop them out and compost them.
Transfer your fermented veggies into wide-mouth mason jars. You'll need several for this recipe! Store jars in the fridge where the veggies will continue to ferment but at a much slower pace due to the colder temperature. Eat 1-2 tbsp up to 1/4 cup per day to get in your daily dose of healthy probiotics!
Feel free to use red, green or Savoie cabbage. Any kind of apple you like will also do. If you want to add in a thumb-size piece of ginger or 3-4 TBsp of ground or whole caraway seeds, dill seeds, dill leaf, fennel seeds, parsley leaf, etc. feel free! Each herb and spice will give your 'kraut its own particular flavor. I'm rather partial to ground caraway seeds myself :)
If you don't want to add in cabbage, no worries! The thing is, there's no right or wrong way of making 'kraut. Indeed, if you don't use cabbage at all, some people have called such a recipe "fermented veggies." But whatever you call it, how it works is that there are beneficial bacteria on the veggies and when they are submerged under the water in an anaerobic environment, they are then able to multiply and grow! These good bacteria are called probiotics and this recipe lets you get in your these friendly flora cheaply and easily :)
If you like, you could add in a package of Fermented Veggie Starter to the water. <- This one is suitable for vegans and uses tapioca sugar. I use and highly recommend :)
I should mention that the time of ferment depends on the amount of heat and humidity in your home and secondly, how fermented you like your veggies. I've fermented 'kraut for 1 - 1 1/2 months and the veggies come out exceptionally soft, almost like they had been cooked. In comparison, I've fermented for as little as 7 days and sometimes something in between at 2-3 weeks, and the veggies are still raw, but with a tart taste.
Because I'm always fermenting, I recommend using these Pickling Crocks. They come in different sizes and they don't retain odor. They pretty much will last a lifetime if cared for properly, so it's worth the small investment.
I've also used my good ol' crock pot, a plate, a brick and a big bowl of water. I put the plate on top of the cabbage leaves, put the brick in the punch bowl then filled it with water. I put the bowl on the plate and it works perfectly to keep the veggies under the brine. While it ferments, you just have to add in some additional water to the bowl to make sure it's always full. I'd also recommend putting the crock pot on a plate, as there can be some leakage for the first few days. I'd also recommend washing the plate daily to avoid any smells or bugs ;)
Last thing: make sure all your equipment, jars, etc are CLEAN. Just before I make the 'kraut, I use a mix of 1/3 cup vinegar + 2/3 cup water in a spray bottle and spray the surfaces of the cutting board, knife, etc. You want to encourage the healthy bacteria to proliferate, not the other ones!
Happy fermenting! To happy tummies filled with a powerhouse of friendly gut flora!!
CF= Corn Free DF= Dairy Free EF= Egg Free FF= Fat Free GF= Gluten Free GRF= Grain Free MF= Meat Free NUTF= Nut Free SALF= Salt Free SOYF= Soy Free SUF= Sugar Free YF= Yeast Free
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