This is not your average, processed kraut you add to hotdogs that is devoid of nutrition. This sauerkraut is made at home with just cabbage, salt, and water (maybe). It has just as much flavor but way more gut-healthy nurtients.
Sauerkraut is probably the fermented food you naturally think of when wanting to up your gut healthy foods. Unfortunately, the sauerkraut that we are most used to seeing and buying at the grocery store doesn't offer us the gut healthy bacteria we need. Many decades ago, sauerkraut companies discovered that adding vinegar to their kraut gives it that tangy flavor we love while also shortening the amount of time it takes to ferment. Adding the vinegar and shortening the process takes out the lactose-fermentation that happens with real sauerkraut, meaning you don't get the good gut bacteria.
If you've been a part of the community for a while, you know that I emphasize getting diversity in the gut to improve your health. The more diverse fiber we consume the more diverse bacteria we get, which means the healthier our gut and body is. Fermented foods add to this diversity and support the growth of bacteria that is already in the gut.
Cultures around the world include fermented foods in their diet on a daily basis. This is something that many of us in the states seriously lack, or we think we are getting in yogurt, not realizing that the majority of healthy bacteria is stripped from the food during processing. Maybe why so many other cultures outlive us Westerners??? Making your own fermented food is so easy, less expensive, and really really good for your gut.
So, onto the real stuff! This recipe is quick, takes about 20 minutes of work, 3 ingredients, and you would be hard pressed to find a cheaper recipe. It takes about a week of fermenting but you can double or triple it and have sauerkraut for months (or even a year if you don't eat it daily, but you should...)! And best of all, it has all of that good gut building bacteria your body is craving.
It has taken me a few rounds of kraut before perfecting it. Recipes I followed "to a T" always seemed to forget to mention certain aspects, like you always want the brine (salt water- also not always explained) to cover all of the shredded cabbage. Or maybe I just wasn't well versed enough with the fermenting lingo. Here I do my very best to cover all of the questions that came up while I was trying out my own kraut. I hope you feel like everything is covered.
Feel free to comment or email me with questions if I left something out!
Raw Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe
Kitchen Utensils Needed~
Mason jar with wide mouth (you may want two depending on size of cabbage) + lid
Large, clean bowl
1 large head of organic cabbage, unwashed.
3/4 tablespoon salt
Filter watered, as needed
Start by sanitizing your jars- Wash your mason jar and lid with warm soapy water. Fill a large pot with water, add your mason jar, and bring water to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer water for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and dip the lid in the hot water. Dump the water and remove the lid and jar. It is now sanitized!
You don't want to wash the cabbage because of the healthy bacteria on it. This is why you want it to be organic.
Remove the outer layer of cabbage leaves and discard. Remove another few outer leaves and set aside, we will use them later.
Quarter your cabbage. Holding onto the stem of each quarter, shred all of the cabbage using the large holes of a box grater. Discard stems. *
Place shredded cabbage in the large bowl and add salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage. This should take about 5 minutes. The cabbage should start to get slick and there should be liquid pooling at the bottom of your bowl. Really get in there and squeeze/massage. If liquid doesn't pool at the bottom, let the cabbage sit for about 10 minutes undisturbed and try it again. Once you have liquid in your bowl, it's time to pack the kraut.
Scoop about a 1/2 cup into your jar and pack the cabbage down as tightly as you can with your hands/fists. You want the water to squish out and cover the cabbage. Continue with this process until there is about an inch or two of space at the top of your jar. Be sure your salty cabbage water (brine) is covering all of the shredded cabbage. If it does not, in a bowl combine 1 cup of filtered water with 1 teaspoon of salt and stir. Add to the jar so that it covers the cabbage.
Fold the outer layer of cabbage leaves you saved so that they are snug in the jar on top of the shredded cabbage. You want to use them to push the shredded cabbage so that it is submerged in the water. The cabbage leaves do not need to be submerged in water.
Top the jar with the lid, securing tightly.
Let the jar sit in a dark place that is between 60-70 degrees. If it is hotter, it ferments faster. Cooler, it ferments slower.
On day 2 and day 4, take your jar over the sink and unscrew the lid to "burp" the veggies. If at any point the liquid does not cover the shredded cabbage, add more salt water. Secure lid back onto the jar and return to dark place.
At 10 days, remove the folded leaves and take a taste of the kraut. If it tastes good, you can put it in the fridge and start eating! If it tastes funny, scrape off the top layer and try some a little lower. If that is good, put it in the fridge to enjoy.
If you want more zip in your kraut, you can leave it to ferment for a month or so. You can actually let it ferment up to a year if you are patient.