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Sauerkraut - Food is our medicine

I was inspired to write this recipe when I listened to a talk by Sharon Flynn, who runs the Fermentary in Melbourne, and is passionate about fermented foods. I love the simplicity in making sauerkraut (with a lot of help from my partner) and love the yummy umami flavour plus my gut bacteria benefit!! All the best - Mary-Anne Dowden



Preparation Time: approx. 1hr

Fermentation Time: 2-6weeks


· 2 Litre jar for fermentation with air lock

· Large stainless-steel boiler etc for pounding cabbage

· Pounder e.g. wooden rolling pin

· Weights e.g. boiled pebbles


· 2 green cabbages (about 2kg and organic if possible)

· 50g fine salt with no iodine or additives (about 2.5%)

15g caraway seeds (optional)


1. Cut the cabbage in quarters & remove the woody stalks. Weigh the cabbage to ensure the salt to cabbage ratio is correct.

2. Shred the cabbage finely with a sharp knife or put into food processor.

3. Mix and massage the salt through the cabbage thoroughly so salt is distributed evenly (mix in large bowl that won’t break when pounding or a large stainless steel boiler).

4. Use your pounder to vigorously pound for about 5-10 minutes - until the cabbage is dripping with its own salty water (this liquid forms the brine).

5. Add caraway seeds and mix in.

6. Pack the mixture tightly into the 2L jar so that the brine comes up to cover the cabbage. If there is not enough brine use water with 2.5% salt to cover the mixture. Leave some room at the top of the jar (thumb length for 2L jar) to accommodate a bit of growth and movement plus weights.

7. Cover mix with cabbage leaf, then weights like boiled pebble etc to keep cabbage under brine as it moves. Also important to provide an airlock to release carbon dioxide from bacteria munching sugar in cabbage. Alternatively wrap stretchy plastic around the top of the bottle to allow for expansion.

8. Leave it undisturbed for at least 2 weeks, longer when its colder. We leave ours for about 6 weeks at 15 – 17C. When ready transfer to glass bottles and will keep in fridge for about 12 months.


TIPS FROM SHARON FLYNN’S BOOK –“FERMENT for GOOD Ancient Foods for the Modern Gut”

1. A clean environment to start is important - use hot water to wash equipment.

2. What temperature to Ferment at? 12C min, ideally 17C, max 21C. Basically Sydney winter room temperature with least variation in temperature, preferably in a covered container

3. Air-Lock Systems available include bought S-bend air locks from brewery or wrap plastic around lid or Sharon’s use of a thin rubber glove on a jar as shown in picture.

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