Gut health is one of the most talked about topics amongst nutrition and wellness experts and enthusiasts. Many studies are now showing that a healthy, well balanced gut flora is one of the key factors in achieving good digestion, and health in general. As well as avoiding stress and toxins that cause an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in our gut in the first place, it’s important to include a variety of fermented foods and probiotics in your diet.
Watch my Facebook video demo on how to make sauerkraut here (replay of my Facebook live session).
I used a small head of cabbage (about 800-900 grams / 1.8 lb ) for what I would call a small batch of sauerkraut. Remove the outer leaves that might be dirty and cut the cabbage into quarters. Remove the core and shred the cabbage into thin strips. You can use a food processor for this. Transfer the cabbage to a large plastic container or a bowl and sprinkle with about 18 grams of salt (2.25-2.5% of the cabbage weight or about 3 1/2 teaspoons). So, if your cabbage is about 1 kg / 2 lb, then you’re looking at 22-25 grams of salt, or 4-5 teaspoons. Toss through and leave for about 5 minutes for the cabbage to start releasing its juices (the salt draws them out). In the meantime, wash a medium glass jar (about 500-750 ml or 1 litre if using a larger head of cabbage) and its lid with soapy water, rinse with hot water and let it dry on a towel. There is no need to sterilise it any further than that.
Add about a third cup of filtered water and toss through the cabbage. Start squeezing and mixing the cabbage with your hands. Squeeze hard to get as much juice out of the cabbage as possible and after a few minutes it will become lightly bruised and softened, with a decent amount of salty brine.
Start packing the jar we prepared earlier with the cabbage. Press the cabbage down with your fingers and then also with a spoon or a wooden stick. As you get closer to the top, use your fingers to really compact the cabbage in the jar, allowing the brine to float to the top. The idea is to eliminate as many air bubbles inside the jar as possible. You want to leave about a centimetre of space at the top for the liquid. Finally, pour in the remaining brine/juice to cover the cabbage completely as that will protect it from oxygen and external bacteria.
If you have leftover cabbage, you can pan fry it with some onions for a yummy side dish.
Cover the jar with a lid and set aside somewhere warm, say near a stove. The fermentation process can take anywhere between 5 days to 1 month week, depending on how warm or cold the air in the room is. I recommend that you ferment the sauerkraut for at least 7 days and that’s how I like it as it’s tangy but not too sour while still retaining its crunch. The longer you leave the jar out of the fridge, the more sour and softer the cabbage will become.
Do you ferment at home? What are your favourite foods and combinations? Share this post with your friends and family and get them into fermenting! Pin for later from here.