I never used to like sauerkraut that much. Then as I learned more about the health benefits, and tasted the difference between the fresh kind that had live cultures and compared it to the shelf stable store bought stuff, I became more open minded about it. Not only does the unpasteurized sauerkraut from the refrigerated section taste so much better, it is full of good for your gut probiotics. Way more than you will find in any pill form. I started eating sauerkraut even more frequently once I tried making my own at home, and it didn’t take me long to get hooked.
Making it yourself is surprisingly easy and even faster if you have a food processor. You can incorporate other flavors such as ginger, garlic, apples, caraway seeds or other vegetables, but for this first post on fermentation I’m going to keep things simple.
All you need is:
- Knife or food processor for chopping
- Large bowl for mixing
- Mason jar (or something similar – I reuse old quart sized coconut oil jars, washed thoroughly of course)
- 1 medium head of cabbage (green cabbage is wonderful, but I often use red cabbage for the extra vitamin C)
- 1 Tablespoons of salt
- Reserve a few of the outer leaves for the last step. Process the rest of the cabbage in a food processor or chop it into small pieces.
- Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with salt. The salt is necessary to extract the cabbage juice. I like Himalayan pink salt but any salt will do for this purpose.
- Massage the mixture with your hands for 5-10 minutes to get the cabbage juices flowing.
- Transfer mixture to a jar and press it down so that all of the cabbage is submersed below its own juice. You can take a couple of the reserved cabbage leaves to cover the top for an added barrier between the cabbage and the air. If any cabbage gets above the liquid it will mold from the contact with oxygen, which we don’t want.
- Let the jar sit at room temperature for about 3 days, then transfer to cold storage. It will keep for months, however in my house it has never lasted nearly that long!
In order to reap the benefits of sauerkraut, you only need to eat 2-3 forkfuls per day. It should also be mentioned that I don’t recommend frequently consuming fermented foods if there is a histamine intolerance present. Otherwise, this ancient, nutrient rich superfood is a very easy way to improve intestinal flora, support digestion, and probably enhance your health in many other ways that have yet to be discovered.