I got to making some sauerkraut a few days ago as we were nearly out and I’ve left it too long. After posting a photo of its beautiful purple glory on Instagram, I had a few requests for the recipe!

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I’ve been making it for a year or so now and have experimented with different versions but so far, this is the one I keep going back to. Not only because of the gorgeous colour of it, but its a flavour that seems to go with everything. So, here is the recipe.

1 purple cabbage

1 fennel bulb – shred up the white part, then add the chopped up soft green fronds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 Tbsp salt

4 Tbsp whey – this is optional, but if you don’t use it you will need to double the salt

Select 2 large mason jars, I use ones that have swing top lids. They were previously from my coconut oil but you can get them for a couple of dollars in the supermarket. You’ll need to sterilise them with boiling water. I give them a wash and then pour the boiling water into and over them while they’re sitting in the kitchen sink. Allow to cool for a bit then carefully tip out the water and set them aside. Just make sure they aren’t still hot when you add the veggies.

Core and shred the purple cabbage and the white part of the fennel bulb finely with a knife. Chop up the soft fronds of the fennel if they aren’t all manky. Add the vegetable into a large mixing bowl and add the herbs, salt and whey. Give it a bit of a mix around to combine and then either vigorously massage it all together to break down the fibres and release all the juices. You can use a heavy object like a rubber mallet or I use a large pestle.

You can use a food processor, but I find you have to chop it up anyway to fit in the chute and then its just another thing to wash, so its actually faster to use your old trusty knife and get a work out.

Once you have as much juice as you can get and the vegetables look as though they’ve almost halved the space taken up in the bowl, you can start packing the mixture into your jars. This usually fills on large jar for me, but you need another on hand just in case so that you don’t have to sterilise another and wait again for it to cool.

As you are packing it in, make sure to push down hard enough to bring the juices in and around and over the top of the vegetables as you go. Fermenting is an anaerobic process so you don’t want any air in there. Keep packing until you are about 1 inch from the top of your jar, then top with a small heavy object. Crock weights are perfect, if you own them. I don’t, I just use a small heavy condiment dish. (see picture) Push this down, being sure as to not fill it with the fermenting liquid, but far enough that it holds the vegetables below the water line. If you omit this step, they all float to the top and will go mouldy.

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Place your jar on a plate and store it somewhere relatively dark and cool. Mine live in the pantry until they’re ready. Leave be to do its thing for 3-4 days then transfer to the fridge. I’ve found the best flavour comes from leaving for 1-2 weeks in the fridge before using.

This is where I learnt to do this myself. Sarah Wilson is an avid vegetable fermenter and experimenter in this area, she has a lot to share so pop across to her blog and have a look. There are a lot of links from this page but if you type sauerkraut in her search box, you’ll find a heap more. There are other methods around but hers is the easiest and most reliable that I’ve found.

Enjoy experimenting! Share below or on the Facebook page if you’re into fermenting your veggies and what combinations you have used and liked x