You know I love sauerkraut—not the stuff you buy in jars at the store, but real, homemade, lacto-fermented sauerkraut. LOVE it.
We are also a bit Brussels sprout obsessed. I mean, they’re like adorable little baby cabbages! And they’re delicious! What’s not to love?
Well here’s a happy springtime variation for you: lacto-fermented Brussels sprouts, or as we like to call them, BrusselsKraut or SauerSprouts. I’m not sure which name is my favorite. They’re both so cute! Yes, I’m a pickle nerd.
So without further ado, here’s the super simple recipe. The formula is standard lacto-fermentation. If you are interested in learning more about lacto-fermentation, check out Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
BrusselsKraut / SauerSprouts
- Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, stems trimmed, cut in half length-wise
- Brine (adjust to desired amount using a 1 cup : 1 Tbsp ratio):
- 2 c. distilled or de-chlorinated water (to use tap water, boil it and let it cool before use or let it sit out in a pot or jar overnight; either way, the chlorine will evaporate off)
- 2 Tbsp. sea salt (not iodized)
Put your Brussels sprouts into a clean jar, leaving three or so inches of headspace. Stir the salt and water together to create your brine—all salt should be dissolved into the water. Pour the brine into the jar with the sprouts. (If you want to add garlic, hot pepper, etc., go for it, but trust me, it’ll be plenty flavorful on its own!) Use a chopstick or similar to release any air bubbles that may have gotten caught in among the Brussels sprouts. The sprouts should be completely submerged in the brine.
If you have a fermentation stone or weight, put it on top now. If not, pour some of the same brine into a clean Ziploc baggie and arrange the brine-bag on top of the sprouts/brine mixture to keep the sprouts submerged. Place the lid on the jar.
Fermentation will take anywhere from one to four weeks usually, give or take, depending on ambient temperature, etc. Be sure to burp the jar and release the built up air bubbles from the sprouts at least twice a day, lest you end up with a sauerkraut sprinkler system (oh yes, been there). To be safe, I often leave my jar in the kitchen sink when it’s actively fermenting if I’m going to be gone all day… just in case. 🙂
How do you know when they’re done? By tasting them, of course! I’ve found with sauersprouts, you will definitely get that sauer flavor, but sometimes there’s still a bit of sparkly, carbonated feel to it in your mouth, which indicates that it’s still releasing fermentation gases and needs a bit more time. When it’s done, it’ll have the sour flavor and will be “flat”—no more bubbles/carbonation. Move the jar to the fridge. Enjoy as you would pickles, etc., and remember to continue to keep the sprouts submerged completely in the brine.
(My dad adds that sauersprouts make a great addition to a gin and tonic or martini—in lieu of olives or mini-gherkins. Go nuts.)
So that’s it, super simple. It should be noted that lacto-fermented foods are filled with happy probiotic bacteria—great for your digestive health! Of course, the taste isn’t for everyone, so if you don’t like it, feel free to donate your jar to us or to your local foodie enthusiast.
What are your favorite pickling or lacto-fermentation recipes?