Fermented Joy

New batch of sauerkraut

I hinted at my latest fermentation project in the crispy chicken post, and will dive a little deeper. I’ve written in the past about my projects with kombucha and kimchi and the latest addition to the fermented family is sauerkraut. 

Why ferment?

Making your own fermented goods is a great way to support your immune health, improve intestinal health, reduce GI related symptoms, delay the development of allergies and reduce your risks of various other diseases according to the NIH. As we are entering cold and flu season as well as the holiday season, we need to give our bodies all the help they can get. Making your own products is a great way to support strengthening your system with natural bacteria found in your environment. While I know that can sound gross, our bodies are filled with many different good and bad bacteria, and fermented foods give the good bacteria a helpful boost.

Sauerkraut of all of my fermented projects, is by far the easiest and most straightforward. It is simply cabbage, salt, water and caraway seeds. Now it is important to use organic cabbage and as a low cost veggie, it’s one that you can get for cents more than the commercial alternative. The chemicals used in commercial cabbage is not something you want to ferment (yes, I’ve tried it). Ready to give it a try? Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

2 32oz mason jars (be mindful of wide lid options for stones and lid matching)

2 weighted stones

1 medium head of organic cabbage 

About 1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp organic caraway seeds

1 tbsp of thinly shaved or sliced garlic (optional)

Distilled water

Directions:

  1. Cut cabbage in half. Then remove core by cutting alongside the core on an angle.
  2. Cut each half into thirds and thinly slice with knife.
  3. But in a large bowl and sprinkle on salt. You want roughly 1.5 tsp per pound of cabbage. Mix well by hand or with a spoon and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  4. If using the garlic, this is a good time to slice it up. It adds fantastic flavor and will lose the bite during the fermentation process.
  5. Add cabbage in small handfuls to mason jars. Add a little garlic and caraway seeds to each layer.
  6. Push cabbage down with the stone and leave each stone in the jar which is needed to keep the cabbage submerged.
  7. Add distilled water with a tsp of sea salt and stir until dissolved. Top off each jar with the liquid until cabbage is fully covered.
  8. Store in a cool spot not in direct sunlight for at least 3 days. (Countertops away from the stove are perfect!)
  9. I usually test to cabbage to check taste and whether more brining liquid is needed. If you would like a deeper pickled flavor, replace the stone and let it sit for another 2-3 days.
  10. Remove the stone and then store the jars in the fridge.

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