Fermented veggies are one of the healthiest foods you can eat because they’re loaded with probiotic-rich, ‘friendly’ bacteria that help to heal your digestion.
Studies are coming out all the time linking friendly bacteria to weight loss, so eating more fermented veggies is a great way to go.
Here at The Gabriel Method we love fermented veggies, and in our opinion they don’t get much better than sauerkraut.
However, store bought sauerkraut is typically pasteurized, killing the beneficial organism in the process. So to get the real health and weight loss benefits, you have to either make it at home or buy it from a raw (unpasteurized) source.
Making sauerkraut is actually very simple. Here’s a great recipe for making super nutritious, bio-active sauerkraut that’s loaded with probiotic-rich, friendly bacteria.
STEP 1: Clean & Sterilize!
It is really important when fermenting anything to begin with as clean equipment as possible.
Start by sterilizing your jars. To do this, first wash your jar & make sure there is no soap residue. Next, place your glass jar into the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees C (about 400 degrees F), which will kill any additional bacteria left behind from water.
Finally, let the jars cool to room temperature. You don’t want any unfriendly bacteria to get in the way of all the healthy bacteria you are about to cultivate!
STEP 2: Chop & Prepare
- Rinse the cabbage and remove the outer layer reserving a piece for later.
- Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges.
- Finely slice each piece of cabbage into thin ribbons, approximately 1cm thick.
- Put the sliced cabbage into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt and caraway seeds.
STEP 3: Massage
- Use both hands to massage, squeeze and work the salt into cabbage.
- It might not seem like much is happening to start with, but keep massaging down for 8 to 10 minutes. The time depends on how firmly you are squeezing and working the cabbage.
- This is a good workout for your forearms!
- You’ll notice after a few minutes of massaging that the cabbage starts to give up its water.
- The water mixes with the salt and produces the brine, which will preserve your sauerkraut and aid the fermentation and preservation process.
- Keep massaging until you have approx. ½ cup of brine at the bottom of your mixing bowl. Again, this will take about 8 to 10 minutes.
STEP 4: Pack The Mason Jar
- Transfer your cabbage mixture to the Mason jar, pack it down nice and snug, and pour in the brine.
- Use the reserved outer leaf of the cabbage to cover your sauerkraut inside the jar.
- Use the smaller jar to weigh down on top of the sauerkraut. This is going to ensure your kraut remains submerged under the brine during the fermentation process and doesn’t go moldy.
- Don’t worry too much if there doesn’t seem to be enough brine. The cabbage will continue to expel water over the next 24 hours. If after a day there is not enough brine, add a little bit of salty water to the jar to ensure your sauerkraut is covered.
- Cover the jar with a piece of cloth and secure with a band.
STEP 5: Start Fermenting
- This takes no effort on your part – let the bacteria do the work. Store your jar of sauerkraut in a dark dry area for 3 to 7 days.
- The time to ferment depends on the temperature where you store it. In the summer you’ll find by day 4 or 5 it is ready to go, but in cooler months, it may take at least 7 days to ferment. There are no hard and fast rules to when the sauerkraut is ready, being more a matter of personal preference.
- You can start tasting from day 3, and when it starts to taste nice and sour, take out the smaller jar, put a lid on it, and store it in the refrigerator. Your new batch will store for a couple months but,, because it’s so tasty, it’s doubtful this jar will last a week!
Step 6: Enjoy!
Sauerkraut is a great addition to any salad or protein. Some of our favorite ways to enjoy are on top of a piece of grilled fish, mixed in with scrambled eggs, or as a topping to any fresh green salad.
Here are a few additional tips!
- Sauerkraut with other additions : Red cabbage and Napa cabbage both work well. You can mix cabbages together! Also try adding a carrot, ginger and turmeric, or fresh herbs and other spices. There are no limits!
- Larger batches : If you want to make large batches just keep the same ratio of cabbage and salt and adjust the size of the container. Note: Larger batches take longer to ferment.
- Fermenting at cooler temperatures : Try to keep the sauerkraut as cool as possible during fermentation. It might take a bit longer but the results are better. If it is too warm the sauerkraut may become a bit mushy.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Please let me know your results in the comments! Share your photos too! 🙂