My Trader Joe's Style Sauerkraut: Recipe and Some Fermentation Tips
Well, my sauerkraut is finally done and it didn’t take me quite as long as I thought it would. I estimated it would take about 4-6 weeks on the counter but I tasted it at 3 weeks and I am happy with the outcome. I compared the taste of the two different sauerkrauts and mine is not as crisp as the Trader Joe’s but it has a very nice flavor. I could definitely taste the garlic and I loved the addition of the cucumbers.
I think next time I may omit the pounding of the cabbage and just allow it to sit and macerate. This in turn will keep the cabbage leaves crisper.
- 1 large head of FRESH cabbage, about 2 LBS (I got mine at the local Asian Grocery)
- 1Lb of mini cucumbers
- 2-3 heads of garlic
- 1 Tbsp Himalayan Pink Sea Salt/Sea Salt
- Mason Jars
- Fermentation Kit (I have this Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit – Glass Weights, Vegetable Pounder and Silicone Airlocks – Wide Mouth)
The How To…
- Wash outer leaves of cabbage and discard spotted leaves. Slice cabbage thinly. Toss cabbage with 1 tsp of salt and set aside (about 30minutes) to allow juices time to drain.
- Slice cucumbers thinly and peel garlic cloves.
- After 3o minutes – 1 hour, toss the cabbage again until you have extracted enough liquid from the cabbage. Some sources say this step could take anywhere from 1-3 days to create enough liquid. Just cover, and toss every now and then.
- Next, I started layering my ingredients in the jars, packing in between layers to compress mixture and extract more liquid.
- Once the jar was filled 2 inches from the very top I pounded once more to make sure there was enough liquid to cover the ingredients.
- Place a weight to keep food submerged. Any food exposed to air increases the risk for mold.
- Cover and set on the counter for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. (to keep the good bacteria breeding, it needs to be kept out of the fridge until all the stages of fermentation have been completed)
A Few Tips
I am sure some people have different tips that have worked for them during fermentaion but here are a few I have found from my reading and small amount of experience.
- Use fresh ingredients
- Make sure you have the right amount of salt
- Keep all food and floaties below the water line. Use a weight even if you don’t have a ‘fermentation weight’.Be creative (google fermentation weights)
- Don’t use tap water as the chemicals can interfere with fermentation
- Keep it covered and don’t touch it
- Wait patiently