So you bought one cabbage too many from the supermarket, now what do you do with them?
Today, let's talk about how to preserve cabbage. We’ll cover all the basics, no worries, so you’ll know exactly how to ferment cabbage at home.
So why is it important to learn how to preserve cabbage or how to ferment cabbage at home? Well, that's so you’ll always have ready access to important vitamins, minerals and probiotic cultures.
First thing you need to do is remove the first few leaves. Set them aside, we’ll be using them a little later on. In the meanwhile, wash the cabbage, chop it in half, shred and slice it as thinly as you can and then weigh it.
Just as a general guide, one tablespoon of pink salt is to two heads of cabbages. So that's one tablespoon of pink salt is to approximately 1000g worth of cabbages or you could also use any other combination of veggies to do this.
I usually go with this rough guide because then I'm making it pet-friendly too. Apart from consuming it myself, I also add some to supplement my pet’s diet to improve its gut health, I mean, why not, right?
But say, you don’t have a pet and you much prefer working off of a formula, which I totally appreciate, then the amount of salt should be about two per cent of the total weight of the veggies plus water.
As in, you weigh the veggies you wanna ferment plus enough water to cover and submerge it. Weigh that, and then multiply that by two per cent so you’ll know exactly how much salt is needed to preserve this batch of veggies.
Vegetables weight (g) + Water weight (g) x 0.02 = salt needed
So after you’ve ascertained how much salt is needed to create the brine, pour out the water into a clean jar. It's likely that you won’t end up using all of it, but you can always use it to water your garden.
Then, measure out thee exact amount of salt that’s needed and massage it into the cabbage making sure that the salt is equally distributed so as for the salt to draw out the moisture from the cabbage.
Leave it to wilt for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, massage the cabbage for a further five minutes. Then use a muddler to crush the cabbage, just to make sure you get all of the juice out.
I’m going to throw in a clove of crushed garlic as well, just to enhance the overall flavour.
Then what you wanna do is pack the wilted veggies into the fermentation jar as best you can, pressing it in tightly, and filling it up making sure there’re no air bubbles in between.
Remember the first few whole cabbage leaves that we had saved earlier? Pick the nicest looking one, wash and dry it, and we’re gonna fold it and use it to cover and hold down the shredded cabbage while you pack it down some more, and weight it.
After that, you just need to add enough water to totally submerge and cover all the cabbage, keeping the liquid level above the stones.
Whatever vessel you’re using, just remember to always leave a maximum headspace of about 2.5 inches or 6.5 centimetres between the top of the jar and the liquid, so you won’t have a messy situation where there’s an overflow.
And that’s pretty much it!
You just leave it on your countertop to work its magic for anywhere between three to seven days. Of course, you’ll have to take into account that Singapore is very very hot and humid with an average temperature of between 26°C and 28°C.
I know the longer you leave it, the more beneficial the microbes will be. But, if you leave it too long, it might end up being a tad too sour for your liking. So, best thing to do is to start taste-testing it after three to four days and then more regularly as it continues to ferment until you’re happy with the flavour.
Then, I usually remove it from the fermentation jar. Transfer it into a smaller airlock bottle and chill it in the fridge, while I prep a new batch of veggies to ferment. And it goes on and on.
Do keep in mind that it continues to ferment in the fridge, albeit at a much slower rate and that’s why it’s useful to use an airlock bottle so you don’t have to worry about fermentation gases building up inside or burping it often so it won’t explode in your fridge.
And that’s basically how to preserve cabbage at home. Feel free to experiment and do likewise with other types of veggies. Explore different combinations and let me know in the comments below which is your favourite combo of veggies to ferment. Meanwhile, you have a beautiful day!