Festive Xmas Kraut
Since childhood Christmas time for me has meant gathering with the wider circle of our family to share the years stories over a table laden full of home made delicious food.
This recipe is a perfect addition to the classic hot turkey or cold meat and salad Xmas spreads. It has a hint sweetness from the cranberries and a touch of sourness from its lactofermentation process. Add it as a side condiment to your Xmas meals and it will help you digest the often richer and larger quantities consumed on this day!
Or why not make batches prior to Christmas to give away as present - they look and taste divine and are a gift for your family's gut health!
1/2 medium-size green cabbage – it’s best to source organic produce – as this is thriving with good bacteria.
1 large red apple - grated
1/2 cup cranberries - I've used dried and fresh with equal success
The juice of one orange
2 generous teaspoons of salt (sea salt, pink lake salt or himalayan salt)
an extra orange for decorative slices
1 litre wide mouth jar
Remove any dirty outer tough leaves of the cabbage. Reserve 1-2 large outer leaves. Cut cabbage into quarters, (pop half in the fridge for another recipe). Remove & discard the core and slice your cabbage into fine slivers using a sharp knife. Place into a stainless steel bowl and combine with the salt.
Mix with your hands, squeezing firmly and then pound the cabbage with your fist or with a pestle to bruise the cabbage and encourage the salt to draw the natural juices out. Continue to do this for the next 5 minutes.
Grate the apple and add this with the juice of your orange to the cabbage mixture
Add cranberries and mix thoroughly
Then cover with a tea towel and allow the mixture to sit for up to an hour. The salt will continue to draw out the moisture from your cabbage. You want to draw out enough of the juice so that it will cover the cabbage when it goes in your jar.
Cut up your extra orange into 1cm thick round slices
Before jarring, give the mixture another quick squeeze - it should be nice a juicy
Scoop it into a clean wide mouth jar, gradually pressing down firmly with your fist or pestle as you go to eliminate any air pockets. Place a round orange piece to the side of the jar as you continue to add layers, pushing out all air pockets around the orange.
Leave an inch gap at the top for your liquid layer
Wipe the inside of the top of the jar with a paper towel to remove any little straggly pieces.
Tear up and place your reserved outer cabbage leaves to form a lid over the top of the mixture, like tucking a child tightly into bed. The aim is to have no gaps where small pieces of cabbage can float to the surface – the veggies and the top cover leaves must have no contact with air.
Once it is all completely immersed by the juices you’ll need a weight to keep it all under.
You can use things like an upturned shot glass as an alternative to a glass weight, or a flat river pebble (just boil it in water for 10 minutes to kill off any garden bacteria and allow to cool before using). Place the weight on top of your mix, then put on the jar lid to help keep it all under the juices.
Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 weeks
Fermentation creates gas. If you are using jars with airtight lids, you will need to ‘burp’ your jars by opening the lid slightly and releasing this air each day to avoid your jar exploding! Continue to ensure the veggies stay immersed.
It’s ready when it tastes slightly sour and sweet, but still crisp.
Store in the refrigerator until Xmas day
It will last 8 months unopened, and around 2 - 4 months once opened. Enjoy (your gut certainly will).
Green Tree Blessings x