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RECIPE: Nana Pickle's Christmas Sauerkraut

A jar of Nana Pickle's Christmas Sauerkraut

Looking for a tried and tested seasonal sauerkraut that goes just as well with Christmas dinner as it does in a leftovers sandwich? Here's the recipe to one of our personal favs - a sauerkraut based on a traditional, family favourite of spiced, braised red cabbage.

We had this as one of our festive limited batches a couple of years ago and we still dream about how good it was with Christmas dinner. The best part is that you can serve it cold from the fridge, at room temperature if you don't want the chill or you can pop it in an oven-proof dish and roast for 15-20 mins for a more similar take on braised cabbage.

Just remember that if you're eating it purely for the live cultures then cooking it will destroy them. But you'll still be getting all the benefits of the fermentation by-products produced during fermentation - such as short chain fatty acids, flavour compounds and bioactive peptides, which may help to support our health in different ways.

Recipe (makes enough to fill a 750ml jar)

Red cabbage x 475g (save one outer cabbage leaf)

Onion x 80g

Apple x 100g

Garlic x 1 clove

Brown sugar x 1tsp

Apple cider vinegar x 1tsp

Nutmeg x 1/4tsp

Cinnamon x 1/2tsp

Ground cloves x 1/4tsp

Salt x 13g*

*We use 2% salt by weight of the vegetables


Large mixing bowl

Chopping board


Wide-mouth glass jar (with a roughly 750ml capacity)

As usual for sauerkraut your PICKLE MANTRA is always SHRED, SALT, POUND, PACK


1. Clean your jar by either washing in hot soapy water or run it through the dishwasher. We used a Kilner jar but any glass jar with a lid will work just fine.

2. SHRED: Finely slice half of the cabbage and then use the slicer on your box grater to slice the rest. Cut up any large pieces of reluctant cabbage to make sure it is all small enough to participate in the fermentation process. Fine slice the onion and apple then add the whole lot to the large bowl.

3. Crush the garlic then add to the bowl with the spices, sugar and vinegar.

4. SALT & POUND: Add the salt and then massage and agitate with your hands for about 10 minutes. It's a great wrist and hand workout for free!

5. Keep pounding the veg until you can take a handful and when you squeeze it liquid pours out. This is how you know it's ready to pack!

6. PACK: Place one handful of veggies into your clean jar at a time and push down so that they’re in there tight – this makes sure there’s no air bubbles as they need an oxygen free (anaerobic) environment to thrive. When you’re about 2 inches from the top stop (if you have excess place in a separate jar). Pour any excess liquid in to cover the veg, this should leave around an inch at the top of the jar. Tear off a portion of the outer cabbage leaf you left to one side and push down on top of your ferment to act as an inner seal.

7. It's not entirely necessary but some folks like to weigh their ferment down with a clean stone, shot glass or even a small plastic bag filled with water.

8. Cap your jar and leave on your counter top at room temperature out of direct sunlight. After a couple of days you should notice the veg expanding (hence why we leave some space at the top) and even bubbling!

9. Some folks like to leave their veg for just a few days, some for slightly longer . Either is fine, as long as when you taste it and like it you pop it in the fridge to slow fermentation right down. So make sure you're tasting regularly!

Had a go? We wanna know! Get in touch @craftypickleco on Instagram and Facebook

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