As my garden is in the middle of the harvest, I did my second batch of organic sauerkraut. This article will give you step by step directions and a recipe to make your own at home!
What is sauerkraut and what are the benefits?
Sauerkraut is a form of fermented cabbage and has been popular throughout Central Europe for hundreds of years. Sauerkraut combines one of the healthiest foods there is (cabbage) with one of the most beneficial and time-honored food preparation methods ever used (fermentation). Sauerkraut is very low-calorie, but it’s also an anti-inflammatory food that is packed with benefits. Besides having probiotics to offer, sauerkraut is a good source of antioxidants and dietary fiber, thanks to its main ingredient: cabbage. First and foremost, sauerkraut’s live and active probiotics have beneficial effects on the health of your digestive tract — and therefore the rest of your body too. That’s because a very large portion of your immune system actually lives within your gut and is run by bacterial organisms, what you can think of as “your gut’s bugs” that live within your intestinal flora. Microbial imbalances have been associated with enhanced risks of various diseases, but luckily obtaining beneficial microorganisms from probiotic foods has repeatedly demonstrated health benefits. After eating foods like sauerkraut that provide probiotics, these gut bugs take up residence on the lining and folds of your intestinal walls, where they communicate with your brain via the vagus nerve. They also act like your first line of defense against various harmful bacteria or toxins that enter your body. Some beneficial probiotic bacteria found in sauerkraut and other cultured veggies are more or less permanent residents because they form long-lasting colonies. Others come and go more quickly but still have important anti-inflammatory effects. So are you ready to make your own?
What you will need:
1 large head of shredded cabbage
3 teaspoons sea salt (we like Celtic sea salt brand)
1 TBSP caraway seeds (optional)
First, place the cabbage on a large cutting board and slice off the end and make sure your cabbage is clean.
Remove the outer leaves and trim out the core you want.
If you have a slaw slicer or cabbage shredder (this is what I like to use), shred up your cabbage.
Place into a bowl with 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Mix and let stand for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, make sure your hands are clean and begin to massage the salt into the cabbage for 10 minutes.
After you have massaged your cabbage for 10 minutes and you see liquid/bubbles, your cabbage is getting ready to be jarred.
Sprinkle the other teaspoon of sea salt and caraway seeds if you choose or any other variation like (fresh dill, garlic, etc) and mix together.
Take a clean glass jar and begin putting all your cabbage into the jar. Push down on the cabbage as you add to it so you see the liquid rise. This is what will help the cabbage ferment.
Once all cabbage is in, use a smaller glass jar filled with water and covered to place on top to help keep the cabbage submerged. Check every couple days to make sure cabbage is submerged. This will help in the fermenting process and prevent mold.
Cover your big jar with a breathable towel and rubber band. Remember to label the date you made it.
Store in an area that is away from direct sunlight and let sit for up to 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, store in air tight glass jar containers.
Store in your refrigerator for up to 6 months.
*Special note- While it is fermenting, you will see bubbles and foam form. The means your sauerkraut is fermenting properly! Skim any scum off the top when you see it.
The finished product! Happy sauerkraut making!