Sauerkraut is a fermented food made from cabbag. Cabbage itself is packed with nutrients and when its fermented it is full with beneficial bacteria, enzymes as well as increasing the bioavailability (absorption) of the vitamins (A,C,K)and minerals (iron, magniesum, manganese) in the cabbage. Eating sauerkraut can provide you body with a host of benefits, for example restoring your gut health and aiding digestion, having anti cancer effects, as well as stimulating your immune system.
It is important to use the best quality ingredients organic etc because you want to try to eliminate the pesticide content.
Although cabbage is a FODMAP food and for some a gas inducing food I find once it is fermented I can tolerate it quite well but every person is different but even just 1 tsp a day of fermented food is known to be very beneficial for your body. Not all bought sauerkraut is beneficial if you are buying pre made sauerkraut look for raw, naturally fermented sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is made through a lactic acid fermentation method, fermentation is an anerobic process meaning it needs to occur out of contact with the air. Sauerkraut is a very easy ferment to other and far less risky in terms of being contaminated. Sauerkraut does have a distinct sour taste, you can make this taste stronger or weaker depending on the time you leave it to ferment. I use red cabbage because I love the flavour and color and my recipe is for a quick ferment as I haven’t had the time to invest in these longer 6 month fermentation, but this recipe is super quick, easy, yummy and great for nourishment.
If you are more interested in fermenting I found these sites really useful: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/natural-fermentation.html
- 1 medium red cabbage
- 2 tsp salt
- Remove the outer leaf and leave to one side. Slice the cabbage very finely. Discard the white core.
- Place the cabbage strands in large bowl and sprinkle the salt over.
- Using your hands massage the cabbage, squeezing and scrunching your hands around the cabbage until the cabbage juicy and the color darkens. This will take you around 8 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the bowl into a clean 1 quart mason jar (or fermenting jars if you have them) push down to tightly pack the cabbage into the jar.
- Depending on the size of the cabbage sometimes you will have a little more or less but you should have roughly a full jar and a nice extra layer of purple juice over the cabbage at the top. If you do not then next time remember to massage the cabbage longer and this time just add a splash of water and pinch more salt.
- Wash the outer leaf you kept to one side and use this leaf to make a lid, tearing the leaf to make a domed shape lid and press this into the jar.
- Use a plastic sandwich bag and place over the top and round the jar. See my photos of this to best understand the use of the bag.
- Then find a heavy object that you can place on top to keep the cabbage all submerged under the juices. It is important to keep it submerged if it is in contact with the air to keep the right healthy bacteria growing not the bad kind.
- Leave for 4 days at room temperature, check each day to make sure the cabbage is submerged. I keep my jar in a bowl as some liquid spills over and this way you can add this liquid back in the jar.
- You can choose to leave your sauerkraut to ferment longer than 4 days but I like the taste and ease of a 4 day ferment. It will be a beautiful pinker colour after 4 days.
- Seal with a lid and keep in the fridge
- There is various different information on how long to keep once refrigerated because this is not a full ferment and in a easy way your good for at least a month if you keep it in the fridge and try and keep the juices above the cabbage.