Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut

Raw fermented sauerkraut is an easy, affordable way to enhance digestion and nutrient assimilation. Sauerkraut provides a natural source of potent, immune-enhancing live beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics. Sauerkraut is an excellent source of Vitamin C and is rich in phytonutrients and cancer-fighting compounds, such as anti-oxidants.

Ingredients

  • 1 head red or green cabbage, finely chopped or grated
  • Finely ground sea salt
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • Optional: Herbs (Cumin Sd or Marjoram are nice choices)

Preparation

STEP 1: Chop or shred the cabbage as finely as possible

STEP 2: Start adding the cabbage and salt to your container (anything but metal will do), firmly tamping it down as you go. The basic ratio for salt to cabbage is 2.5-3 tbsp: 5 lb cabbage.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can weigh your cabbage out at grocery store on the produce scale. Try to distribute this evenly as you add your cabbage to the crock. Some people measure their salt, others don’t. Too much salt will inhibit fermentation so it’s better to be conservative. If you are adding herbs add them as you add the salt, at a ratio of about ¼- ½ tsp: 1 lb cabbage, basically to taste.

After you have about a 2-inch layer of cabbage added to your crock, tamp it down firmly with a pestle or wooden spoon.  This helps the cabbage release it juices and make a good brine - the salt does this as well. 

STEP 3: After you’ve added all you cabbage/salt mix, place a clean plate over it to weigh it down. Important note: The brine should completely cover the cabbage so none is exposed. If necessary fill a large mason jar with water and place it on the plate to help weigh it down. If the brine has not completely covered the cabbage within 24 hours of making it, you can make your own brine and add it.  Use 1.5 tbsp salt: 4 cups water to make a brine.

STEP 4: Let it ferment! Cover the entire set-up in a cloth to keep out dust, etc. Bubbles and foam are all signs of healthy fermentation, you may skim them off if you’d like. Occasionally some mold will appear on the surface of the brine. Simply skim it off. It’s no big deal and will not affect the sauerkraut below it.

Fermentation times can vary widely.  A warm environment will speed-up fermentation and a cold one will slow it. Let the sauerkraut ferment “to taste”.  Try it every couple of days, and when it tastes good and done (aka sour!) put it in a glass jar with a lid.  You want it to be fresh-tasting and crunchy. If it’s getting soft its been fermenting too long. Store sauerkraut in the fridge once it is “done” since the cold temps will slow fermentation to virtually a standstill.

STEP 5: Enjoy! Have a nice 2-3 tbsp of sauerkraut daily with your meals to add delicious, bright flavor.

Recipe by Jade Alicandro Mace