Making my own sauerkraut, the well-known fermented cabbage dish, has been one of those things that I knew I should be doing, but just wasn’t getting around to.
At first I thought that making sauerkraut was one of those big production numbers that I just didn’t have the time, energy, or inclination to tackle.
As is the case with many things in my life, the more I heard and read about sauerkraut, the closer I got to actually making some. Eventually the idea made its way to the front burner of my brain and actually became a reality. And, again, consistent with other things in my life, I wonder what it was, exactly that was holding me back. (I am a marvel!)
Consider the Benefits.
Sauerkraut is a probiotic food, which means that it contains bacteria that line the digestive tract, supporting the immune system and absorbing nutrients from foods. Because it is rich in organic acids, it stimulates the growth of even more favorable bacteria.
Try the Easy Way.
There are many recipes for Sauerkraut which are sophisticated and have several ingredients. If you’re just starting out, keep it simple with this 3 ingredient recipe, knowing that you have a good foundation upon with to build other fermented vegetable combinations. And, while making Sauerkraut isn’t labor intensive, it does need fermentation time, so don’t plan to serve it immediately after you’ve put it together.
Total Time: 20 minutes active preparation; 4 weeks total
Serves: Makes about 1 gallon (which will keep stored for a very long time.)
5 lbs cabbage
2 Tbs sea salt or pickling salt
1 Tbs caraway seeds
1. In a large bowl, mix cabbage with salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. With clean hands, throroughly massage the salt into the cabbage. Add the caraway seeds and mix.
2. Pack cabbage mixture into large glass food container. (1 qt. Mason Jars work fine.) Top with a quartered onion to fit inside the container, weighing it down. This helps pack the cabbage down and keep it submerged in the brine.
3. Cover container with a paper towel and secure with a rubber band.
4. Place in a cool spot overnight. Check to make sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in liquid.
5. Check cabbage every other day for 2 weeks, skimming off any scum that may form on the surface. (The scum that forms is a completely normal part of the fermentation process, so don’t worry. Just skim it off every other day or so.) After 10 days or 2 weeks, you can begin to taste your Sauerkraut for readiness. It will probably need at least 4 weeks fermenting time.
6. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to months.
For additional on fermentation in general or Sauerkraut in particular, see these links.
There’s no reason to procrastinate as long as I did before making your own Sauerkraut. The sooner you do it the sooner you’ll be enjoying all the creativity that comes with making it and all the benefits from adding it to your healthy foods diet.