Hey y’all, let’s make some good ol’ fashion sauerkraut shall we. If you have not already checked out why you should eat fermented foods, like ALL.DAY.LONG. Check out this post. Sauerkraut gets a bad rep, most people think it just goes on hot dogs and it’s gross. But when you realize how good it is for your belly, all of a sudden it has an interesting taste that you can get behind. Sauerkraut is one of the simplest recipes you can practice with if you are just starting out fermenting.
Lets be honest, what the F is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Fermented foods are created through the act of live organisms converting carbohydrates into alcohol or an acid. In the case of sauerkraut it is an acid, lactic acid to be exact. This specific fermentation process uses salt to draw out the liquid from within the cabbage, which then creates an anaerobic environment. An anaerobic environment means an environment free of oxygen. This type of environment allows the good bacteria to multiply without allowing bad bacteria to grow.
You may have also heard of “Lacto-Fermentation” which is essentially the same concept. “Lacto” comes from the bacteria name Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus bacteria usually grows on the leaves of plants that grow closely to the ground. Cabbage being a great candidate! Lactobacillus bacteria transforms sugars into lactic acid.
Ready to make yourself some badass sauerkraut?
What you’ll need:
***Listen people, use organic. You are not about to make delicious fermented foods to help heal your body and use vegetables that are sprayed with chemicals. You want as fresh as possible right out of the “dirt” cabbage. Or at least use it the same day you bring it home from the store. Got it!
Glass jar or crock
Sea Salt or Celtic Sea Salt
**Do not use iodized salt. These salts contain anti-cracking agents and prohibit bacteria from growing. Remember, we want bacteria.
**Rule of thumb here for salt to vegetable ratio is for every 1 1/2 pounds of mass you have (veggies) you use 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Wash and remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Save one to two good leaves to use as a weight later on.
- Cut the core out by slicing the cabbage in half then removing the core.
- Thinly slice your cabbage. And place in a bowl.
- Sprinkle salt over cabbage and start massaging.
Now you may watch videos or read other post and they tell you to take a wooden spoon or cooking mallet of some sort and pound the veggies to acquire the liquid. Please don’t waste your muscle on that non-sense. Sprinkle the salt over your cabbage, massage for about 5 minutes. Cover with saran wrap and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Come back to it and massage for about another 5-10 minutes. You should have yourself a beautiful amount of liquid.
When massaging it, massage it with love. Don’t laugh, hear me out. Put love into it. This is meant to heal your body and by putting good energy into it while making it, only heals even more.
- Once you have enough liquid, put cabbage in clean glass jar or crock. Push down mass as much as possible. The key here is to have the liquid rise above the cabbage.
- Now, place your piece of cabbage leaf over the top and put your weight on top of that. Here I just used a shot glass to push everything down.
Make sure all your cabbage is under the liquid, no little piece left behind yo!
This prevents mold from growing.
- Now place your lid on top. If you don’t have one of these fancy lids, I highly suggest you get yourself some. BUT you can also use a loose fitting plastic lid, coffee filter, or cheese cloth. This fancy lid just does the dirty work of allowing the carbon dioxide out without letting oxygen in. And since using them, I get a perfect ferment every time.
- Place jar inside a cool dark place like a pantry or cabinet and allow to do its thing for about 5-12 days.
You want to start checking the taste after about 5 days. If it is still to salty, let it go for a few more days. If it has the right amount of sour then it’s good to go in the fridge.
***Let’s talk mold for a second. Sometimes when your mass is not pushed down ALL the way, mold can start to grow. Honestly, unless it is straight up black mold, growing throughout your entire jar, it is ok to just scrap out that area and continue your ferment. A lot of the time scum (foamy looking bubbles) will form over the top, again that is totally cool yo, just scrap it out and make sure your mass is sitting under the liquid.
Not sure what taste you are looking for?
Use your gut. Taste it and what every makes your toes want to dance, then that’s your ferment. Some people will let it ferment for 3 weeks, some 5 weeks, some 4 days! Remember, the longer you let it ferment the more bacteria and more health benefits there are. But the more sour the taste.
Not into cabbage. It’s cool yo, gather up whatever veggies tickle your fancy and chop them up and ferment. The ratio is going to be the same for every 1 1/2 pounds of mass, you use 1 tablespoon of salt.
When using veggies like carrots or whole beets, you want to use a brine to ferment. Hmm that sounds like a new post waiting to happen! Stay tuned!
Check out this post for another fermenting recipe.
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