Za'atarkraut, that is sauerkraut with my homemade Za'atar spice mixture, is the declared favorite ferment of my youngest son. And for good reason. Sumac, oregano and sesame bring wonderful tart, fresh and aromatic nutty flavors to the otherwise simple sauerkraut.
Fermented sauerkraut with Za'atar spice.
The best thing about sauerkraut is that you can enjoy it in an infinite number of ways.
For my Za'atar blend I mix oregano, sumac, roasted white sesame and salt. The amounts in this order, oregano > sumac > sesame > salt. Of course you can also buy the seasoning at the store, then you might find some other ingredients in it. In the Arabic region, for example, Syrian hyssop is used instead of oregano.
I prefer to make sauerkraut in autumn because that's when I get the Ackerpille fresh from the farm. The Ackerpille is a kind of ancestral white cabbage. It is flatter, looser and less bloating. And it tastes slightly sweet. It is also very easy to knead the cabbage into brine.So it is perfectly suitable for beginners.
- White cabbage (Ackerpille)
- 1 large white or red onion (about 150 gr.)
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 heaped tsp Za'atar spice
- 2% salt
The ingredients are for a 1 liter flip-top glass. The cabbage should weigh just under 1 kg, so that without the core there are about 700-800 grams left after shredding.
The outer 3-4 leaves of the cabbage are removed and put aside, they will be used later. First, the cabbage is cut into quarters, then sliced into fine stripes with a vegetable slicer at the smallest setting. The core of the cabbage is left out. Of course, you can also cut the cabbage into strips by hand with a knife, but it is much easier with a slicer.
A vegetable slicer is a very good purchase if you like making sauerkraut.
If the cabbage is bigger, you may only need ¾. I can see in the bowl when I have reached the right amount, but in the beginning it is a good idea to weigh in between. More than almost 800 grams will not fit in a 1 liter flip-top glass. So either you take a bigger size or you make other things from the rest of the cabbage.
Peel the onion and cut it into fine rings, again at the smallest setting of the slicer. Chop the garlic finely. Put cabbage, garlic and onion in a large bowl and weigh them. Add the Za'atar spice and 2% salt. If you don't feel like doing mental arithmetic, you can cheat at the Brine calculator.
Then the cabbage is kneaded and pounded until a good amount of brine is produced. I mangle and press the cabbage stripes and also like to hit them with my fists. With the fresh Ackerpille, it is easy to achieve a good amount of brine. How much brine you need, you will learn to estimate over time. There must be enough so that the kraut in the flip-top glass is covered 1-2 cm by brine. If it is not enough, you can simply fill it up with 2% salty brine (2% salt in water, e.g. 200ml water with 4 gr. salt).
The well kneaded cabbage is filled into the jar and pressed down properly. Then cover everything with cabbage leaves and press it under the brine so that nothing sticks out and may attract mold. If the cabbage leaves are not sufficient, you can use weights or wedged wooden sticks - you can find my ideas for this at the fermentation 101 nachlesen.
At my house we leave the kraut to ferment for at least 3 months before we like the taste. Better still 6 months. Or 8. Good thing is: It will not go bad ✌️