Enjoy the delicious taste and health benefits of fermented foods with this naturally fermented sauerkraut recipe – it’s super easy!
Fermented foods have become a very popular trend over the past couple of years, as more and more evidence has surfaced showing how good these foods are for us. Some have even surmised that the lack of fermented foods in the modern diet is linked to many of the modern health problems facing us today.
Not only are fermented foods good for the digestion and brain health, but they are also a lot tastier than you may think! In fact, once you start eating them on a regular basis, I think you may find them downright addictive! (I can’t go a day without at least a couple of bites of kimchi or homemade sauerkraut!)
Buying fermented foods can be iffy, though. Not only are the good ones prohibitively expensive, but it may be very difficult to find fermented foods at the store that still contain live and active cultures. Fortunately, fermented foods are amazingly easy (and safe) to make at home!
Below is a recipe for naturally fermented sauerkraut to get you started, but you can find more ideas here, here and here, or pick up my favorite book – The Art of Fermentation – to open up a whole world of fermented foods to you!
All you will need to get started making your own homemade naturally fermented sauerkraut is cabbage, salt, and two glass jars (one wide-mouth quart and one smaller one that will fit into the mouth of the larger jar) – OR one wide-mouth quart jar and a fermentation lid kit.
Basic Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe
1 head green cabbage, about 1½ pounds
1 Tablespoon natural sea salt (non-iodized)
1. Wash your jars well. Cut the cabbage (with or without the core, your choice) into bite-size bits. Long, thin strands are traditional, but any size and shape will do. In a bowl, mix the cut cabbage with the salt—it will start to weep water, which will dissolve the salt and make your brine. Pack the mixture firmly into the quart jar (you want to force out any air and push the cabbage down so the brine will cover the top). Fill the smaller jar with water and push it down inside the bigger jar on top of the cabbage as a weight, to prevent the cabbage from floating.
2. Drape a towel over the jars to keep out dust and flying insects and set it on the back of your counter. A couple of times a day, push down on the inside jar to further pack the cabbage and raise the level of the brine until it is over the surface of the cabbage. If the brine doesn’t cover the cabbage after about 24 hours, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 1/3 cup of water and pour it on top of the cabbage to raise the brine level. Then you can stop pushing down the weight jar.
3. After that, take a look at your kraut jar every day or so. In a few days, you may see some mold floating on the surface; this is normal and harmless. Your cabbage is safely out of reach under the brine, where more desirable organisms are working their magic. Scoop out as much of the mold as you can, wash the weight jar, and you’re good to go again. (If the thought of letting cabbage sit unrefrigerated on your counter for days at a time is unsettling, just know that all the lactic acid bacteria being generated by the salty brine is killing off any harmful organisms while bringing out the flavor and nutrient content of the cabbage.)
4. Taste your cabbage every day thereafter. It will start to get tangy after just a few days at room temperature. When the flavor is perfect, put a lid on your jar and put it in the fridge (the cold slows the fermentation process), and eat it up within a few weeks. The sourness of sauerkraut pairs well with sweeter meats, which is why it’s often served with pork…
If you have any brine left in the jar when the kraut is gone, use that, too! Kraut juice is a popular digestive tonic in some parts of the world… Sip it straight up or use it to make a delicious salad dressing!
Recipe Source: RodalesOrganicLife.com