Eating fermented foods is a must if you want to optimally digest and absorb everything you eat. Our ancestors ate cultured and fermented foods constantly, so they had a steady stream of friendly bacteria coming into their system and thus STRONG immune systems. Nowadays these traditional foods have mostly fallen by the wayside, along with their plentiful benefits.
Sauerkraut is a natural form of probiotic and everyone should eat it, particularly if you suffer from any sort of chronic health issues!
What you’ll need:
1 x Cabbage (any color, green easier to learn with)
1x Clean knife and board to slice on
1 x Large mixing bowl
1 x Large glass / Mason jar (On average a medium-sized cabbage fits into a 2L jar)
1 x Tablespoon Salt (Pink Himalayan Salt is great. Celtic salt too. Sea salt is better than table salt)
1 x teaspoon mustard / cumin / caraway seeds (optional)
Remove any outer leaves that are brown or damaged. DON’T wash the cabbage — you’ll want the natural bacteria on the leaves.
Make sure the surface area where you will be working is clean.
Cut the head into quarters, so that the core (stem) is cut into 4.
De-core the cabbage by slicing away the hard, thick stem.
With the quarter-head on a cutting board, carefully slice the cabbage into 2cm thick slices. Bigger pieces will take longer to ferment. Smaller ferments quickly and become softer quicker, it loses crunch if too fine (a matter of personal preference).
Place the cabbage pieces into your large kitchen bowl.
Sprinkle 1 big tablespoon of Himalayan Pink or Celtic salt over the cabbage pieces.
Add a teaspoon of your choice of seeds (cumin / caraway / black mustard seed / etc.)
Take about 10 minutes or so to knead and squeeze your cabbage pieces to get as much juice released out of it into the bowl as possible. This is to break down cell walls to encourage the release of water and to start the fermentation process.
The goal is to get juice from the cabbage to cover the cabbage once it goes in the jar.
Pack the cabbage pieces and juice into the jar as tightly as you can, pushing it down to remove all air pockets.
How much liquid do you have naturally from the cabbage? Regardless, we recommend covering the kraut with an extra glass of brine water. Make salted (brine) water by adding 1tsp salt to 1 glass of water, stir to dissolve and pour onto the cabbage.
The liquid should cover the cabbage by 2cm above the top of the packed cabbage line (to reduce exposure to oxygen).
Place the Jar with the lid tightly sealed out of the way for it to ferment.
You must keep checking daily that the cabbage is under the water. Take a large clean spoon to press it back under the water 2 or 3x per day, as it pushes up above the water through the fermentation process. The bottle releases gas when you open it.
Wait for 4- 5 days to ferment the kraut before testing or eating.
You can also wait 3-6 weeks for it to mature or even longer with proper fermenting crockpots.
The warmer the climate the quicker the ferment
A few Tips
- Keep checking daily to make sure all the kraut is below the liquid.
- Press it down with a large spoon 2x per day, where required in warmer climates. One can also find a round stone that fits through your jar opening to put on top of the cabbage (after cleansing it well before use).
- If there’s no mold and it hasn’t discolored to a strange color from where you started (other than becoming more see-through), it’s safe to eat. The Sulphur-cabbage smell is normal.
- Mold is a risky area and if in doubt, just get rid of it and start again.
- Be sure you clean the equipment, work surface and bottle before starting, pack the cabbage down well, put enough liquid in, and keep everything consistently below the liquid level.