Posts Tagged ‘djanbung gardens’

Freshly made German sauerkraut with caraway seed & juniper berries

Freshly made German sauerkraut with caraway seed & juniper berries

Sauerkraut is one of my favourite ways to eat cabbage – not the bought bottled or canned sauerkraut that’s been pasturised and lost it’s living probiotics, but the homemade kind.

Sauerkraut uses a natural lactic fermentation process that not only helps store cabbage for longer, it enhances it’s nutrient value including vitamin C and K, aids the assimilation of B vitamins, and makes cabbage  easier to digest by breaking down complex proteins. The cabbage leaves naturally contain all the required yeasts and bacteria for lactic fermentation. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and Kimchee are probiotic living cultures teeming with more lactobacillus bacteria than yoghurt, which increases healthy flora populations in the digestive tract.

I love the traditional sauerkraut made in Bavaria with caraway and mustard seeds and juniper berries, which not only enhance the flavour but bring their own unique health and digestive properties into this delicious nutritious food.

How to make traditional German Sauerkraut


  • 8-10 cups finely shredded cabbage, loosely packed (approx 1kg), about 1 medium-sized cabbage
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp. Celtic sea salt (or un-iodized or pickling salt)
  • 1 cup filtered water mixed with 1 tsp. salt

Making the Sauerkraut

  • Cut off and save one or more (one per jar) of the nicer looking outer leaves and put it to one side. After you’ve made and packed all the sauerkraut in the jar, you’ll fold up this leaf and put it on top to help press down the cabbage to keep it under the brine.
  • Slice the cabbage as finely as you can or  use a mandoline or a food processor to slice the cabbage as thin as possible. This maximises the surface area which aids fermentation.
  • Place the sliced cabbage to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over it.  Massage the salt into the cabbage by grabbing handfuls of the cabbage and squeezing it (like you’d squeeze out a large sponge) then drop it back into the bowl and grab some more and do the same. Repeat this until the cabbage starts to get soft. Be sure to wear gloves if you’re using red cabbage, otherwise it will stain your hands.
  • As the cabbage softens you’ll notice liquids accumulating  in the bottom of the bowl. These juices help dissolve the salt, which in turn draws more juice out of the cabbage. That is precisely what we want. Don’t drain off the juice, it’s the brine of salt and ‘cabbage juice’ that will ferment the cabbage by activating the lactobacillus bacteria. The volume of cabbage will reduce as you work it and it softens.
  • Pack the cabbage into sterilised wide-mouthed jars, and pack down firmly with a wooden spoon or pestle. If the liquid is lower than the top of the cabbage, top up with brine (1 tsp salt dissolved in 1 cup filtered water)  to cover the cabbage with liquid. Fold the reserved leaf and put on top to push the shredded cabbage down into the liquid, then cap loosely with a sterilised lid for the initial fermentation period. Do not screw the lid down tight until fermentation is complete
  • Place the jar on a tray or in a bowl to collect overflowing juices during fermentation,  which can take up to  2-3 weeks at 18-23 deg C  (it ferments faster in warmer temperatures). When bubbling stops, remove any white spots from the top, close the lid tightly and store in the fridge or a very cool place.

Sauerkraut is best eaten raw for maximum nutritional benefit. Sometimes I’ll warm it slightly in a double boiler or steam it lightly, but don’t cook or overheat it or you will pasturise it and destroy the probiotic ‘life’ benefits of your living sauerkraut.

Bon appetite!

Songs of a Green Guerilla is an eclectic collection of songs by Robyn Francis, written during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Not one to confine herself to one type of musical genre, Robyn poly-cultures her music as well as her garden. this album incudes folk, folk-rock, reggae, ska and melodic thought-provoking ballads.

The CD is available by mail order from Djanbung Gardens

check out a few classic permaculture songs from the album that were made into music clips in 1992

Robyn Francis Consulting Services:

International Permaculture Design & Consulting Services

At the cutting edge of international design, consulting and training services for sustainable developments, Robyn Francis brings a wealth of professional experience in sustainable systems planning and design accumulated over 25 years. Visionary and intensely practical, Robyn Francis has a unique capacity to cut through to the core issues and essence of a project and in collaboration with clients and professional teams, facilitate achievable outcomes and design strategies for regenerative developments which meet ecological, social, cultural and economic objectives.

Key Consulting Services:

 Strategic Planning

planning, design and development principles and guidelines for integrated interdisciplinary approach to meet best practice ESD principles adapted to specific site, nature of development, catchment and cultural context

Master Planning

working with and facilitating interdisciplinary teams  to optimise integrated ecological and social planning approach to project concepts, themes and relative location of land use systems, infrastructure, soft and hard landscape parameters within strategic planning framework

Concept Planning

develop concepts for development design components, elements and staging within context of strategic and master planning framework including functional parameters and directives for detail design and construction plans

Detail Design

supervise and review development of detail designs for public and private landscapes, implementation guidelines and strategies

Community Resource Management and Governance

input into and review of resident by-laws regarding community land and landscape management under Community Title, Strata Title and Rural Land Sharing Communities (MO) frameworks, community governance and decision-making processes and protocols


creative design and planning process facilitation for interdisciplinary team work (e.g. strategic & master planning), community consultation processes and community participatory design. Participatory facilitation processes include Imagineering the Future, Cultural Mapping, Affinity Matrix, Speak-Out Forums, Pattern Quest and Parallel Thinking.

Professional Development and Education Services

Innovative approaches to integrated design, Francis provides Professional Development seminars and workshops for developers, consulting teams, design professionals, project managers on integrated ecological design, pattern systems, social ecology in the physical landscape, inter-disciplinary team building and creative problem solving processes.

This link is an ABC National Radio Flashmovie, part of the Re-imagining Utopia program series in 2002.

Jarlanbah – An interview with Robyn Francis

Permaculture educator Robyn Francis talks about her approach to the design of Jarlanbah, a 43 lot eco-village which was the first rural residential Community Title development in NSW.

A series of Eco-villages in the making

Declan Kennedy, founding director of Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) reflects on his visit to Djanbung Gardens and Jarlanbah

Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Centre near Nimbin is a living example of celebrating abundance. It demonstrates caring for the earth and for people both in its original design and its ways of integrating design into its everyday implementation. Sharing with others through its shop and through its parallel non-profit educational organization: ERDA is a joy to see and experience.

The guided tours are inspiring, informative and highly educational, as Robyn Francis weaves her way through what at first seems to be a haphazard scheme. It is then that the visitor sees the necessity of site analysis and observation before design and the way relative placement has been put into practice. The permaculture principles of Multiple Elements for Each Function and Multiple Functions for Each Element are evident at every turn.

Using biological resources both for building and for mimicking natural succession encourages beneficial relationship between building and plants, people and plants – and people and buildings. These relationships maximize the whole. They are augmented by many example of appropriate technology which are so numerous on the site that they cannot be listed here,

It is obvious that each element is placed to support its neighbor, as Robyn explains, and that this can reduce external inputs as well as reducing work. But the real experience is the beauty of the place, with its high variety of trees, schrubs, vegetables, fruits and mulches. Animals such as geece and chickens are in small areas near the plants that feed them. Ponds flow from one to the other as part of the aqua-culture design that brings new light as one steps through the various patches and sun-traps. These ponds also give the beholder a marvelous example of edge effect , of recycling energies and nutrients and, of course, are a part of the overall water management on the site.

This edible landscape which was designed by Robyn Francis in 1994 is based on the principle of Permaculture but goes far beyond that – introducing elements that create a truly beautiful and spiritual
atmosphere where she can celebrate her favorite Celtic rituals with her friends and students.

Robyn teaches many Permaculture design courses each year both in these gardens and in other places in Australia and abroad. She has one emphasis that also supports one of her main hobbies – herbs and
spices supporting her gourmet cooking. These feasts can be experienced by her family and friends but also by guests as she runs a café, runs spezial events and banquets on request and preserves organic conserves for sale in the small shop. A more direct link between producer and consumer is hardly possible to find.

Her place is fifteen minutes walk from the town of Nimbin, sandwitched between this now well-known alternative lifestyle and the already implemented 33 acres Jarlanbah Community that borders her
property to the south – which she, by the way, designed in 1992. People started to move on to their permaculture plots, houses and gardens in 1994. 43 residential lots are grouped much closer together
than is usual in this region and this density allows thereby more social interaction between community residents and a huge area for communal uses and for wildlife, as well.

These neighbors did not only have the example of Djanbung Gardens – but could take advantage of Robyn’s ability to match the present legal standards to highly visionary social systems that are being
slowly experimented with by many other intentional communities. Robyn has stayed in close connection to the Global Eco-village Network, of which I am the founding Chairman. These two projects: Djanbung
Gardens and Jarlanbah Community, will be connected up by two further new eco-village developments adjacent and opposite Djanbung Gardens – which when finished may be quite a unique example of a marriage between the old and the new eco-settlement – and making of the transition to a Permaculture Town.



Declan Kennedy



Discover earthfriendly living and design, training for a career in sustainability with world-class staff and facilities at Djanbung Gardens in the lush subtropics of NSW Australia.

Created by Jack Heimsoth.
Music 'Butterflies and Pretty Things' by Robyn Francis.

Contact Me

74 Cecil St Nimbin
(300m past Showground)
less than 1km from Nimbin's main street

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