Homemade sauerkraut, by lacto-fermentation, is a great way. to get good bacteria, probiotics into the gut.
I love how creative you can get with flavoring kraut. Try any of the flavor combinations listed here.
- 1 medium head organic red or green cabbage
- 1-2 tbsp sea salt
- ginger, garlic, apple, carrot, beet, clove, caraway seed, fennel seed, dill, rosemary
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage head
Cut into quarters and remove the core
Thinly slice the cabbage using a chef's knife, or grate in a food processor
Place the sliced cabbage in a glass, ceramic or plastic bowl.
Sprinkle the salt evenly over the cabbage
Let the cabbage and salt sit for 15 minutes or longer to extract the moisture from the cabbage
Begin to massage the cabbage. Do NOT be gentle! This is a great time to take out any frustrations from your day!!! You should begin to see liquid in the bottom of the bowl. The more liquid the better. This will be the brine for your kraut.
*If you are adding any herbs, spices, fruit or other vegetables, this is where you would mix them in evenly with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
Pack the cabbage into clean jars. Pressing down to compact them into the jar. Add the liquid and make sure that your cabbage is submerged under the brine. (If there isn't enough liquid, make a solution using tsp of salt in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Allow to cool and add to the jar until the cabbage is completely covered)
Use the whole outer leaves to push the cabbage down, allowing the brine to flow over the top of the cabbage leaves. This ensures that the shredded cabbage, your kraut, will not be exposed to the air.
Ensure there's at least 1-2 inches of head space below the top of the jar.
Attach a lid and ring and finger tighten.
Place the jar in a dark space like a closet or cupboard. Fermentation will begin within a day and take 1-5 weeks, depending on the temperature Start tasting the cabbage after 5-7 days to get your taste preference.
Important Consideration: Avoid using aluminum or stainless steel utensils and bowls which can cause an off flavor in the final product. "Burp" the kraut every day to release the carbon dioxide buildup and ensure that the cabbage stays submerged. I put a glass pie plate under my jars for the inevitable volcano of cabbage juice during a potent ferment.
Using fruit can sometimes lead to a slimy finished product. I've found that the higher the sugar content, the more likely this is to occur.
Some of my favorite flavor combos:
Red Cabbage and chipotle pepper powder
Red cabbage, raspberry, chipotle pepper
Red cabbage, beet, dill
Green cabbage, dill, pomegranate seeds
Green cabbage, red apple, carrot and caraway seeds