Home Made Sauerkraut
I’ve been looking for ways to introduce more fermented foods into my diet as they have huge health benefits. All of the ancient cultures have some form of fermented food. Some of the main benefits they all have in common is that they offer naturally occurring probiotics, enzymes and vitamin K2 which aids in the absorption of vitamin D. Fermented foods also aid in digestion as well as being great for maintaining the important balance of gut bacteria.
One fermented food that I’ve recently tried making myself is sauerkraut. Maybe it’s my German ancestry, but I’ve always loved sauerkraut, piling it on high when I ate bratwurst. I don’t eat a lot of sausages these days, but I still love sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut was surprisingly easy to make. I took a head of cabbage, sliced it up, added salt and some spices and massaged it until the cabbage released its juices. Next I packed it into a clamp top style glass jar with the cabbage below the juice linet. Waiting four weeks was the hardest part, but it turned out great. Next month, kombucha!
1 head green or purple organic cabbage – 2-3 lbs., shredded, one outer leaf reserved for later
1 ½ Tbsp. sea salt
½ Tbsp. juniper berries
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 clamp top style glass jar
In a large mixing bowl, mix then massage the cabbage thoroughly with salt, juniper berries, and caraway seeds, using your hands or tongs. Make sure that your hands are very clean prior to mixing. Massage until cabbage releases its juices. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Pack the cabbage mixture down into the glass jar. The cabbage should have given up enough liquid to be completely submerged. Place the reserved cabbage leaf on top of the shreds to provide a top layer. If necessary use a sterilized food weight on top of the cabbage leaf to keep the cabbage submerged and away from air—I used a very small water glass which was the perfect size to press the cabbage down and keep it submerged.
Check cabbage every other day for approximately 2 weeks and skim the surface of scum, if necessary. Let stand for 4 weeks. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 weeks