You might be surprised just how much you will like it. When people even said that word, sauerkraut, I would totally make the stink face. After hearing about all its health benefits, I finally decided I would be brave enough to try it, and I loved it! Not only is it a clean, fat-free and low carb snack, it is absolutely excellent for your gut health.
Sauerkraut actually requires a little bit of work but it’s fun, so I make my son help me with it! Gotta wear them out somehow, right?! 😉 After the cabbage has been shredded and salted, you have to beat it up a little. We squeeze it pretty hard until it becomes a limp, wet, broken mass of cabbage.
1 small to medium head cabbage (about 3 pounds or so)
1 generous Tablespoon sea salt (not iodized salt)
- Remove any wilted or discolored outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the head into quarters and cut out the core. Slice the cabbage into ribbons, about medium thickness, just like you were going to make coleslaw.
- In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and the salt. You’ll want to use a large bowl, so you have room to work. Using clean hands, start to knead the cabbage, pressing and squeezing it between both hands. This is the perfect time to take out your frustrations from the day! The cabbage will soon wilt and soften, and you will begin to notice the juice being squeezed out. After a while, you’ll notice that you have quite a bit of liquid and that the cabbage is completely limp.
- Scoop the cabbage up and press it into a clean 2-quart wide mouthed canning jar. You need to make sure it is really packed in the jar and pressed down all the way. You want the liquid above the cabbage because, in order to prevent spoilage, the cabbage needs to remain completely submerged in the brine.
- Pour any juices from the bowl into the jar and tamp it down one more time. There may be a few floating pieces of cabbage—try to push them into the brine. Some people fold up a large cabbage leaf and shove it in to keep the cabbage shreds down. Another hint is to not shred your cabbage to thin, these are the bits that tend to want to float.
- Cover the jar with a cloth napkin or other densely woven fabric and pop on a rubber band to secure. Leave it on your kitchen counter for several days, checking at least once a day to push down any floating cabbage shreds. The longer the cabbage sits, the stronger it will get. Start tasting it on Day 7. If you like it, then replace the cloth cover with a lid and refrigerate. (Discard the whole cabbage leaf if you used one to hold down the kraut.) Most sauerkraut will start to become flavorful by 1 week, but many people let it sit longer to let it develop even more flavor and valuable bacteria, one month or even more. Refrigeration will stop this process, so let it go as long as possible before refrigerating it.
- Sometimes, a thin layer of white “bloom” will appear on the top of the liquid. No worries, just do your best to spoon this off. It is very rare for sauerkraut to go off, but if it does, it will be quite obvious: It will smell absolutely horrible. If for any reason your sauerkraut turns colors or becomes slimy or mushy throw it away and start over.
This is a simple, entry-level method for making your own sauerkraut. Once you have this down, or if you find you really enjoy fermenting foods, you may want to invest in special equipment like a fermentation crock or an airlock. (These can easily be purchased online at Amazon here ==> http://amzn.to/2HcgVt8 ) (Direct link to Amazon)
You can also explore adding other vegetables and flavorings such as caraway, dill, lemon, shredded carrots or beets, or fennel.
I hope this helps get you started. Enjoy your Kraut! 🙂