Stinging nettles turned up the farmer’s market early this year – technically it was still winter! I decided to use them in a kraut that evoked spring, both in ingredients and flavor. Leeks are a must in any spring kraut, and some coriander and celery seed give this a bright, sunny flavor. Enjoy! 🙂
1 quart or liter
1 small head green cabbage (about 2lbs.)
1-2 handfuls stinging nettles*
2 small leeks, sliced thin (white and light green parts)
1t coriander seed
1t celery seed
Prepare cabbage by cutting into quarters, removing core, and slicing thinly across the grain. Layer shredded cabbage in large bowl with leeks, salt, and spices. Gloves must be worn for handling nettles. Pluck nettle leaves from stems and add to the bowl. Toss all ingredients together and pound to soften and release juices. Pack into a 1L or 1qt jar, pounding down each layer firmly, and stopping when the jar is about 75% full. Place a cabbage leaf on top and a small jar or shot glass on the leaf to keep everything submerged. Secure lid (loosely, if using a mason jar) and allow to ferment in a dark place for 4-6 weeks.
For detailed sauerkraut instructions, see my Klassic Kraut tutorial.
*When harvesting nettles, do so early in spring while the plants are young and tender. Select leaves from the tops of the plants only, and avoid ones that have already made flower heads. Be sure to wear gloves. Read about the health benefits of stinging nettles at Mother Earth News.