Mike Wall-Palmer – Sauerkraut

You’re probably thinking ‘oh that fermented cabbage that was at the height of fashion in the 70s, no thanks I’ll pass.’ But give me 2 minutes of your time, I’m going to add the freshness (& acidity) from a seasonal product that you are going to want to make again and again.

Fermented food is littered all over history and is still widely eaten in many Asian countries (see the revival of Kimchee). Many people believe them to have amazing health benefits and are the key to keeping your skin looking young and fresh… also it tastes amazing and will cut through any heavy dish and add another layer to your experience.

So, to sauerkraut, it’s honestly something I haven’t made before so I couldn’t wait to get fermenting!

I wanted to bring a new edge to this dish but sadly my first attempt didn’t work – I tried it with savoy cabbage, but as you may or may not know it just wasn’t juicy enough. But if at first you don’t succeed go and grab the traditional white cabbage by the horns and try again!

Essentially the enzymes from the cabbages are what causes the fermentation. To create the juice, it’s sliced super thin on the mandolin a little sea salt and then you must leave it for 12 hours minimum to break down and get that extra layer of taste. Now for the fun, you can get your hands right in there squeeze, squash and mash it to remove the juices. You then must put the cabbage under pressured weight to ensure the cabbage is submerged in the juice. To get the best flavour the process should take around 6-8 days at room temperature and of course as we all know a good fermented food lasts indefinitely in the fridge in a mason jar. We have a few ideas brewing here in the kitchen as to what we may put this with, but at home you can add to anything from a sandwich to a juicy steak, don’t just stick to the normal hot dog – trust us you will be amazed.

At The Anchor, we are so lucky to have such a diverse team who really helped me understand the best way to salt and preserve, this is common practice in many Eastern European countries. That’s what makes our team so great, we’re always learning from each other and I’m always looking to discover and create new foods to satisfy not only my palate but also our customers. Over the years I have tried nearly everything and I have had some truly awful versions of sauerkraut hence wanting to make it myself! What I learned from this experience was developing my own technique and being able to work so collaboratively with the team and pay attention to every detail at every crucial stage.

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