There are things we grow up with that we don’t see the value of or notice that’s right in front of us. Sauerkraut is like that for me. We had it in the house all the time when I was a kid. It was something our parents would make us eat because it is good for us, but no one ever explained exactly how or why it was good for me. I decided that my parents were just trying to make me eat what they had. Well, it took that long to realize that fermented foods are extremely good for my health. They are full of active enzymes and a probiotics powerhouse.
Sauerkraut is one of those foods.
Overall fermentation is a simple, safe process. Sea salt kills the bad bacteria on fresh produce and lets lactobacillus, the good bacteria, develop until the produce is preserved. This process is called lacto-fermentation, which creates its own preservative, lactic acid. Enough lactobacillus is created to keep the bad bacteria at bay.
Do not confuse fermentation with canning, pasteurizing or cooking foods. Canning requires adding vinegar (and spices) and boiling in a water bath, which kills all bacteria, both good and bad. Nothing survives and it is an extremely sterile and a laborious process. While the end product is tasty, there are no health benefits associated with canned foods.
With fermentation, the produce is never cooked, so it keeps all of its raw benefits while providing you with beneficial probiotics. Fermented food is more digestible and has a higher content of vitamins and minerals than raw or cooked foods. That’s great for our gastrointestinal health since it is the largest organ system in our body–keeping it clean and balanced.
The key to successful fermentation is having clean utensils, jars and keeping the produce submerged in the brine. You can use a mason jar or crock pot, if you want to make large batches, to ferment. We use mason jars with airlocks, which allow carbon dioxide to escape the jar while keeping the oxygen out. It is a three-piece plastic stopper, which you partially fill with water. With airlocks, you don’t need to place a weight on top of the packed cabbage to keep the cabbage submerged. When using a larger vessel, you will need to place a small plate on top of the cabbage and then put a weight on top.
- 1 white cabbage, medium to large (pick an oval-shaped, light-color, compact head that feels heavy)
- 1 carrot, medium to large
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1-2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2-3 bay leaves
- Hand cut or use a food processor to shred the cabbage
- Put the shredded cabbage in a mixing bowl and add sea salt
- With clean hands knead the cabbage to release its juices (this creates the brine)
- Add shredded carrots, peppercorn and bay leaves and mix well
- Add a handful of the mixture to the jar and pack the cabbage firmly with your hand
- Continue adding and packing the cabbage mixture until it’s all in the jar
- Add the remaining juice from the mixing bowl and make sure the cabbage is under the brine
- Cover it with the airlock lid and place the jar on a small plate and put in a warm, dark place
- If you don't have airlock lids, you can cover the top of the jar with a fine mesh cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band (put the jar on a small plate in case the brine leaks)
- Using the end of a wooden spoon, jab the cabbage back down several times a day to help release the gas and to keep the cabbage under the brine
- We ferment for 5-7 days if the temperature is between 70° F to 75° F. It takes longer if the room temperature is cooler. After 5-7 days put the jar in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. It will slow down the process, but it will continue to ferment. You can keep it for a few months to a year, but it never lasts beyond a few days in our home.
- We like to serve it with a drizzle of olive oil, 1/4-1/3 teaspoon of organic cane sugar and sliced raw red onions.
- 1 белокачанная капуста (среднего размера)
- 1 морковь (среднего размера)
- 2-3 лавровых листа
- 1 столовая ложка соли (крупного помола, не йодированная)
- 1 чайная ложка черного перца горошком
- Нашинкуйте капусту. Добавьте соль и немного помните руками. Добавьте тертую морковь, перец горошком и лавровый лист. Перемешайте. Порциями плотно утрамбуйте овощи в 2-х литровую банку. Залейте оставшимся соком. Поставьте банку на поддон или глубокую тарелку, т.к. при брожении капуста будет выделять больше сока. Для того чтобы капуста не горчила, протыкайте капусту деревянной палочкой (ложкой) два-три раза в день, тем самым освобождая капусту от излишков углекислого газа. Через 3-4 дня капуста готова. Закройте плотно крышкой и уберите в холод. Нам по вкусу больше нравится капуста через 5-7 дней. Тем более, что она приобретает более полезные качества.