I lived in Germany for 3 years and I have to say, they obviously have cornered the market for sauerkraut! I never appreciated it back then the way I do now that I know how beneficial it is. Oh how I wish real food me could go back in time!
Fermenting sauerkraut not only preserves it but helps to unlock the nutrients from the cabbage. It is much easier to digest and for your body to assimilate. I don’t know about you but eating raw cabbage gives me stomach pains and major gas issues!
You do not need any special equipment for fermenting. All you need is a jar or other glass/ceramic container with a lid. You *can* buy pickling jars and airlocks but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I don’t have anything but ball jars and they work fine for me.
I use a secret ingredient in my sauerkraut and in many of my other ferments. Instead of using whey, extra salt or a store-bought starter culture, I use water kefir or water kefir grains. It’s wonderful especially if you are dairy free! This acts as my starter and delivers wonderfully fermented goodies! You can substitute water kefir for any fermenting recipe that calls for whey 1:1.
This recipe literally takes 5 minutes if you use a food processor to shred your cabbage. It’s so incredibly easy! Obviously you then have to wait for fermentation to take place but active prep is over in a jiffy!
- 1 head of cabbage
- 2-3 cloves of garlic - crushed (if making garlic sauerkraut)
- 1/2 TBS sea salt
- 1/4 cup water kefir (liquid, not grains, that has finished fermenting)
- Shred cabbage in food processor.
- Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and water kefir (add garlic if using).
- Cover with a cloth and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Mash cabbage with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher so it gets good and juicy.
- Fill ball jar or other container up to 1 inch below the rim with the cabbage.
- Lid and leave on counter for 3 days.
- Taste and if desired sourness has been reached, move it to the refrigerator.
- If not, leave on counter for up to 6 months.
- Be sure liquid level is always above the cabbage. Place a cabbage leaf in the jar to push down the kraut if needed.
Do you like sauerkraut? Have you ever tried it fermented?
For more information on fermenting, I recommend the following books. These are what I adapt recipes from and how I learned how to lacto-ferment: “Nourishing Traditions“, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods“, and “Wild Fermentation“.
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