When I talk to most people about fermentation, they often associate it with sauerkraut. That’s because sauerkraut is the “gateway” ferment for those first entering the probiotic world. Of course, there are countless recipes, but if you’re just getting started, my Essential Sauerkraut recipe is the ultimate beginner go-to. For those with more experience, this is a basic recipe that’s always good to have on hand.
Yes, you can buy sauerkraut at the grocery store, but it’s healthier, cheaper and more fun to make at home. And all you really need are 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt. Once you become more confident in your fermenting skills, you can add in a variety of veggies and aromatics. Some of my favourites are onions, carrots, garlic and ginger. You can even make your kraut seasonal by incorporating sliced radish in spring and summer and shredded root vegetables in fall and winter.
If you haven’t had the best experiences with cabbage, like maybe you’ve only ever had it boiled (ack!), rest assured sauerkraut is way more appetizing. In fact, naturally-forming lactobacillus transforms ordinary cabbage into a salty and tart condiment that packs a nutritional punch. What are those nutritional benefits, you ask?
• Helps boost your immune system
• Aids in digestion
• Repairs the gut
• Decreases inflammation
• Fights illnesses and allergies
Plus, cabbage is low in fat, yet high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals… I could really go on all day, but let’s get to the recipe!
1 head of cabbage
Wide-mouth jar or fermentation crock
- Chop or grate the cabbage, keeping the pieces relatively even in size.
- Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. I recommend about 3 Tbsp. of salt per 5 lbs. of cabbage, but taste as you go. If the cabbage tastes like a potato chip, and you can’t stop at just one, then you have added the perfect amount.
- Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage, which will create liquid (aka brine). This can take about 15-20 min.
- Place the cabbage into a sterilized glass jar or fermentation crock. Add in all of the brine.
- Using your fist or tamper, push all the cabbage below the liquid, getting all the air bubbles out.
- If the brine does not rise above the cabbage, you can add a little salt water (1 tsp. salt in 1 cup filtered water). However, I’d prefer to wait 24 hours to see if more natural brine is produced.
- Seal the jar or follow manufacture's instructions for using your crock. Leave the jar or crock in a cool, dry place and check the kraut every day or two. Don’t be afraid to give it a taste. You can enjoy in 3 days or, for a stronger product, 2-3 weeks.
- When it has the right amount of tang for you, put it into your fridge and enjoy.
I encourage everyone dealing with any type of gut discomfort to give this recipe a try. If you’re interested in learning more about digestive health and living a more beautiful, vibrant life, sign up for a FREE phone session today!