Really, if I would have known just how simple this is, I would have started making it years ago. And, let's not forget all the amazing probiotics fermented foods fill your body with. If you're not familiar with fermented foods, take some time to research them. There are so many health benefits to them and they're delicious!
1 head of cabbage, cored and sliced, reserving one full leaf
1 tbsp unrefined sea salt
1. Place shredded cabbage in a large glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Gently toss the cabbage, coating it with the salt.
2. Let the cabbage sit for an hour and then, using clean hands, gently massage and push down the cabbage, encouraging the cabbage to release juices. Do this until the brine rises above the level of the cabbage.
3. Place the cabbage in a glass container, pushing down the cabbage to ensure the brine rises over the level of cabbage. Fold reserved cabbage leaf in half or quarters and place on top of the cabbage, pushing it down to encourage more brine to rise. Close container and place in a cool, dark place and allow to ferment for at least 7 days, but really, for as long as you please. Once it has a flavor you enjoy, remove the top cabbage leaf and place in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
A few things about fermenting sauerkraut:
- As with any ferment, be sure and 'burp' your jar/container at least every other day. It's important to allow any gases to escape so that you don't end up with a briny mess all over the place. I like to place a paper towel or cloth under my jars, just in case any liquid seeps out (and it has!).
- The top piece of cabbage will most likely begin to discolor and fade. That's okay! It's totally normal. However, if you see any mold (which is almost always green/white fuzz), discard the top cabbage leaf immediately. If it is only on the top leaf then your sauerkraut is most likely safe. But, if you find any mold on your sauerkraut, you're probably best off to discard the whole jar :(
- Taste your sauerkraut as you go. Some people like their kraut to ferment for 30 days or more. Others only like a 7 day ferment. Everyone has different taste preferences.
- Experiment and have fun! Sauerkraut doesn't have to be made from just cabbage - throw in some other veggies and/or spices. Here are some suggestions: minced garlic, carrots, basil, dill, ginger, turmeric, beets, onions, oregano, thyme, cayenne, fennel....possibilities are endless!
- How you consume your delicious kraut also has endless possibilities. There's the classic Reuben and of course Kielbasa and Sauerkraut (both were a favorite of mine back in my meat eating days!). It makes a great topper for burgers and hot dogs and is great just on its own. My favorite way is cooked inside an ooey gooey grilled cheese!
Do I have you convinced at how easy and delicious homemade sauerkraut is!? I'm having a great time experimenting with fermentation and can't wait to share more recipes with you as I go.