Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe
Sauerkraut is the classic Lacto-fermented vegetable that you can make at home. Learn how to ferment your own sauerkraut with our easy recipe. Finely shredded cabbage is frequently mixed with other ingredients such as caraway seeds, carrots, and garlic. Red cabbage, napa cabbage, and other cabbages all make great sauerkraut, making it fun to create unique and enjoyable flavors all your own.
How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut
Simply combine shredded cabbage with some high-quality salt and pack it into a jar for small batches, or a crock for a larger batch. The cabbage creates its own brine solution as it releases its liquid and mixes with the salt.
Sauerkraut stores well if refrigerated. I have enjoyed sauerkraut well over six months old; it is fine although it can start to lose its crispness at the half-year mark.
Fermented Foods are Healing Foods
The process of lactic acid fermentation transforms salt and vegetables into fermented foods and increases food enzymes and vitamins, especially vitamin B.
Using this process to turn salt and cabbage into sauerkraut is yet another example of using food to help maintain, nourish, and heal the gut.
Homemade sauerkraut is full of beneficial bacteria, which are friendly microorganisms that help to colonize the gut, support the immune system, and develop vitamins in the digestive tract.
Why You Should Make Your Own Sauerkraut at Home
Homemade sauerkraut is both easy and inexpensive. Buying sauerkraut that actually has the probiotics in it at a grocery store or online easily runs you $15 or more per jar.
If you thought all sauerkraut sold in stores has probiotics, you are wrong. Check out my post Does store-bought sauerkraut have probiotics?
Buying the ingredients, organic cabbage, sea salt, and a few mason jars, you can make your own.
And the best part about it is you can adjust the flavor to your personal preference, whether that is more or less sour, adding in garlic, spices, peppers, even apples.
The Good Stuff Takes Time
Keep in mind the fermentation process will take longer in colder temperatures and shorter in warmer temperatures. The key is not to let your kitchen get too warm, or you invite an off taste to the sauerkraut. Keep your kitchen temp 80 degrees or lower.
Tasting the sauerkraut, after about a week, should give you some idea of how sour you want it. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, then it will most likely be ready after one week.
But if you crave the sour kind, then consider waiting a few months. I find that one to two months if perfect for me.
Like spicy foods? Add peppers and garlic to the mix. They will take time to marinate together for a real “punch” to your sense.
How about making it a little sweet to help get your kids to eat it too. Just add apples, a little lemon juice, caraway, and fennel to the recipe. You will be surprised at how fast your children will jump on the “healthy gut” bandwagon without even knowing it.
Supplies for making Sauerkraut
1-quart Wide Mouth Jar
Metal canning lids
Kraut pounder or another compacting tool which can fit inside the mouth of the jar
If you are fermenting for the first time, you should check out these cost-effective tools to ensure your first sauerkraut batch is a success.
Something to keep the vegetables submerged below the brine. A glass weight, or even a few clean stones, a ziplock bag with a little water in it, even a few cabbage leaves placed on top of the cabbage mixture will do the trick.
Want to learn more about the what, why, and how of keeping veggies submerged below the brine? Read my article, Fermentation Weights: How to Keep Veggies Submerged.
When sealing up the cabbage in a jar or fermenting crock, fill the vessel to its neck with the cabbage mixture, place the ferment weights over it to ensure that the veggies rest below the liquid. You can also use clean stones, a ziplock bag with water, or just fold up some large cabbage leaves and press them over the top of the mixture.
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