Traditional recipes for sauerkraut involves pounding the cabbage and creating a ‘self brine’, but I never have much success doing it that way. I also prefer a crunchier end result too. So instead, I finely shred the cabbage and julienne the carrots, then I add a wet brine, poured over the top. I use my Pickl-It jars, and this method always works for me.
You can also try using radish, beetroot or different coloured carrots too. If you have more or less vegetables/ flavourings, this still works as the brine is based on a percentage, you just may need to make more brine if you have used more cabbage and carrot.
Please read my Beginner’s Guide to Lacto-Fermented Vegetables before you begin. It explains all the essentials, but in particular, how to choose the % of brine you want to use. This recipe uses a 3.6% brine. That can be increased (especially if you are using more carrots or beets, or making this in warmer weather).
Lacto-Fermented Dill Cabbage and Carrot
A large batch. You will need a large lacto-fermentation container, I use a 2L Pickl-It jar
- 34 grams (about 2 tablespoons) non-iodine salt
- 1 litre non-chlorine water
- 500gm cabbage (red/ purple, wombok, savoy)
- 250gm carrots (about 3 small, 2 medium or 1 large carrot)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped dill leaf and stem (or leave whole)
- 1 tsp dill seed
- 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
- Start with clean hands and kitchen bench, clean equipment.
- Mix your salt and water in a large jug to make the brine, stir or whisking until the salt dissolves.
- Add the dill leaf & stem, dill seed, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic (if using) to your lacto-fermentation container.
- Retain a cabbage leaf to use as a wedge to keep the vegetables submerged. (Or use peeled strips of carrot, which you can ‘weave’ together and use to submerge the veges). Then shred or finely chop the rest of your cabbage.
- Julienne or finely slice your carrots (I prefer mine to be not grated, but you can grate them).
- Toss together, then pack the cabbage and carrot into your lacto-fermentation container, on top of the flavourings (this will help keep the smaller pieces of herbs, spices or seeds from floating above the brine). Don’t overfill the container (allow a few centimetres ‘headspace’).
- Trim your cabbage leaf to a size that can be wedged in, pressing down the vegetables, and then add a glass weight if you are using one (I use a Dunk’R that came with my Pickl-It jars).
- Stir your brine again to just make sure the salt is dissolved.
- Pour brine into your lacto-fermentation container, on top of the vegetables and weight, then gently agitate your container, to release air bubbles. Add more brine, until the piece of cabbage and glass weight are submerged. (If you do not have enough brine to cover and submerge, make more brine to the same 3.6% ratio (i.e. 17gm in 500mls, or 9gm in 250mls).
- Clamp the lid in place, and add the airlock. Pour brine or filtered water into the airlock, up to max. line.
- Place in a location where it will be consistently about 15 to 22’C, not in direct sunlight, but where you can keep an eye on it (you can wrap the container in a cover or teatowel, if you are using a glass lacto-fermentation container).
- After a few days, you will start to see small bubbles forming, and escaping through the airlock. Once the bubbling settles or stops, after about 8 to 14 days (this depends on the conditions in your kitchen) it is time to taste it. It will have a funky small once done. If it has a sour taste to your liking, time to ‘cap it’ by removing the airlock, plugging the rubber valve and transfer to cool storage/ your fridge.
- If you follow a Low FODMAP diet, please refer to the Monash Uni app, or this article, for more information on whether you can tolerate lacto-fermented foods. I make most of my lacto-fermented veges with a mix of red cabbage and carrot (usually with no added garlic) and I find I tolerate 1/4 to 1/2 a cup daily.
- If you use purple carrots or purple/ red cabbage, they will turn the rest of the lacto-ferment a lovely shade of dark red or purple!
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