Sauerkraut is not always high on people's list as a "must-have" food. I happen to be married to one of those weirdos who enjoys sauerkraut though, so I've come to appreciate what it has to offer. Now, there is a lot to be said for fresh Sauerkraut, it is really an entirely different experience than the soggy, watered down stuff you find in a jar on the grocery store shelf. Sauerkraut is traditionally a naturally fermented dish, taking a few weeks to a couple of months for all of those good probiotics to grow, and produce a nice funky accoutrement.
Well, I am not always organized enough to have the foresight that in a month from now we are going to want sauerkraut. And I refuse to buy that stuff at the grocery store anymore. Plus sometimes I just prefer the ease of a quick pickling method to worrying about creating the proper environment for that good bacteria to grow as is needed with a natural fermentation method. This can be made as late as the evening before and will keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. The ingredients can be adapted to fit what you have on hand, after all, sauerkraut is traditionally a pantry and food preserving kind of item--So make use of what you have on hand and prevent food waste!
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp caraway seed (partially ground or whole, depending on preference)
Small head of green or red cabbage, shredded
1 cup of shredded or food processed carrot *optional
1/4-1/2 c water *optional
1 1/2 c Apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
1 pinch + 1 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp ground all spice
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat, add onions and saute' until translucent. Add pinch of salt and caraway seed.
2. Reduce heat to low and add cabbage and carrot to pan. Cover to allow to steam and soften. You can add a small amount of water at this time to encourage steaming. Allow cabbage and carrot to cook down until soft, approximately 5-7 minutes.
3. In small dish or jar whisk together apple cider vinegar, honey and 1 Tbsp salt. Pour this mixture into pan and mix to combine.
4. Add mustard seed and all spice, combining well throughout mixture. Transfer contents of pan to a large jar or bowl and allow to cool. Place in fridge overnight (or for up to 2 weeks) to allow flavors to blend.
Some ideas for substitutes if you don't have quite the right ingredients on hand: You can use a hearty green like kale or collards in substitution or in addition to cabbage (adds flavor and vitamins!). You can even chop the stalks finely and incorporate them for even less food waste. Speaking of stalks, If you have celery on hand that you want to put to good use that could also be added, and will have some crunch and texture. You can also add fresh herbs if you happen to have some on hand--thyme, dill, oregano, rosemary, even basil can add a unique flavor to your kraut. Have fun with it and enjoy!