Get ahead with your Christmas dinner with this delicious, good-for-your gut sauerkraut with a festive twist. Beats braised cabbage hands down and is brilliant with leftovers Boxing Day and beyond.
- 1 red cabbage
- 1 apple
- 1 heaped tbsp sea salt
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Zest of 1 orange or 2 clementines
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 cloves and/or a grating of nutmeg
- 4-5 slices of fresh ginger
- 2 star anise
- Peel off the first few leaves of the cabbage - you want 2-3 big pieces to cover the kraut as it ferments. Finely shred the rest. Finely dice the apple (keep the peel on if you like but discard the core).
- Pile the cabbage and apple into a large bowl with the salt and cloves. Scrunch together for 5 mins or till the mix releases about 6 tbsp juice.
- Add the remaining spices, herbs and zest and give it a final scrunch and mix. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for a few hours or overnight.
- Pack into a sterilised jar (a big 1-2 litre one - like a big kilner jar. Really pack the mix into the jar. This should help release more juices.
- Set the big leaves on top, pressing down so you get all the juices on top and no floaty bits of cabbage (remove any bits that escape or tuck them back into the mix).
- Set a little jam jar on top of the mix (mine fits right down into my big jar). Add something to it to weigh it down (I use my granite pestle, baking beans or marbles also work). This bit just helps press everything down and keeps the liquid covering the kraut, which is really the key bit.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and leave it at room temperature in a warm, dark place for 3-4 days, or as long as 2 weeks. Check ever so often to ensure the liquid it covering it.
- The best way to know it's done is to just taste it. If it tastes like kraut, it's kraut. If it's too salty or briney it's not quite ready. Once you're happy with it, pop in the fridge until ready to eat. Let me know how you get on if you try it.
Recipe by Rachel de Thample, Natural Chef Course Director