There's been a recent surge of interest in fermented foods recently, as scientists learn more about gut bacteria and it's role in the human body. Sauerkraut is one of the more well-known fermented foods, and is very easy to make.
I wasn't quite ready to give up, so I made my own and the taste was much better - fresh, tangy and delicious. This is the recipe I use - it's really straightforward and if you want to start with a smaller batch, just use half a cabbage and half a tablespoon of salt.
Easy Sauerkraut Recipe
1 whole cabbage
Approx. 1 tablespoon of salt (make sure it doesn't have any additives such as iodine etc)
Non-Chlorinated Water (eg. filtered water or bottled water)
Glass jars with lids (recycled jars are fine, just make sure they've been thoroughly cleaned)
A wooden spoon
A tray or bowl (ie. something to 'knead' the cabbage in, and retain the juice)
Step 1: Chop and Crush the Cabbage
Rinse the cabbage, chop it into thin slices and place in the bowl.
If you find that the juice doesn't cover it, you can make a salt water mixture to top it up, using plain salt and non-chlorinated water.
Some people also place an item (eg. a smaller glass jar or a cabbage leaf with pie weights on top) into the jar to weigh the cabbage down and keep it below the water.
Leave a gap of a couple of centimetres at the top, as the fermentation process produces carbon dioxide and it'll need some room, then screw the lid on.
Step 3: Storage
Put the jars on a tray or container lid to catch any liquid that escapes, and place in a dark place at room temperature (eg. a kitchen cupboard that is used infrequently) for at least 3 days and up to 3 weeks.
For the first few days, open the jars at least once a day to release the gas build-up, and use a wooden spoon to squash the cabbage back down. You may notice bubbles, a fizzing sound, and leakage underneath the jars, which is normal (and good, as it means the fermentation is happening).
This is what it may look like - lots of air pockets, bubbles, and the cabbage may have risen up. Just push it back down to release all of the bubbles and get it covered by the liquid again.
Smell and taste the sauerkraut every so often. I sometimes find that I need to add a little more salt.
When you're happy with the taste, transfer it to the fridge, and enjoy!
You can add extra things like caraway seeds or dill to the cabbage mixture.
You can also use purple cabbage. I've made a batch using purple cabbage and preferred the taste of the green cabbage, but I know some people prefer purple sauerkraut. If you do use purple cabbage, you may want to use gloves if kneading by hand, as the purple does stain.
If the cabbage turns brown or pink, you notice mould or slime in the jar, or the sauerkraut starts to smell strange, it's best to throw it out.
Cost:Varies (Cabbages are currently around $5 at the major supermarkets, and salt is around $2, which makes it around $7 in total. However, if you can get these items on special/reduced for quick sale then you can bring it down to a couple of dollars)