Homemade sauerkraut is so easy to make and it is a great way to get a large amount of probiotics into your diet on a regular basis. I eat or drink fermented foods every day, and I love them! The probiotics have been really great for my digestion and my immune system. I no longer suffer with environmental allergies, and even some of my food allergies have been healed. I haven’t been sick with even a sniffle in well over 2 years either. I don’t have any concern when coworkers in the office are riddled with colds and flus.
Homemade sauerkraut is as easy as chopping and pounding some vegetables and then waiting for the lactobacilli bacteria to multiply. When you mix green and purple cabbage together, you get a beautiful magenta colored sauerkraut!
Fermentation Resources and Tips:
- https://www.foodpreservationmethods.com/sauerkraut-kimchi-pickles-relishes/sauerkraut/fermentation – this link has great information about ambient temperature and fermentation time, as well as the bacteria varieties you will be growing.
- http://www.nourishingtreasures.com/index.php/2012/05/15/the-science-behind-sauerkraut-fermentation/ – this link has good information about what can go wrong with the ferment and the signs that will tell you if you need to throw it away.
- http://www.picklemetoo.com/2012/11/16/fermentation-friday-sauerkraut-troubleshooting/ – This link is an overall great resource about long ferments and histamine levels in sauerkraut.
- Appx 5 lbs cabbage (2 average sized heads - I mix 1 green and 1 purple to make pink sauerkraut)
- 3 TB kosher salt (I like it for pickling and ferments)
- 4 TB caraway seed (Warning: I LOVE this stuff. You can use less if you don't love it as much as I do.)
- 4 carrots (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic (optional)
- Wash and shred the cabbage into thin strips. You can do this with a large knife, but two much faster ways are to use the slicing blade on a food processor (my preference), or to use the straight blade on a spiral cutting tool (I have tried this method and it works pretty quickly as well).
- Shred carrots if you are using them.
- Crush the garlic if you are using it.
- Add 1.5 TB salt to each head of shredded cabbage (I end up using one large mixing bowl per head of cabbage).
- Massage the salted cabbage until it starts to soften and give up some juices. Squeeze and pound on it a bit. Some people use "vegetable stompers", but I just use my Vitamix tamper. 😉 The process might take 10-15 minutes.
- Mix in the caraway seed, carrots, and garlic.
- Pack it tightly into a large glass container (the Vitamix tamper comes in handy for this too). I use a half gallon jar per head of cabbage.
- If the liquid does not cover the top of the cabbage, you can make a brine with 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of water, and add a little as needed until your cabbage is completely submerged by about 1/2" water.
- Weight the cabbage down so that it stays under the brine. I use a large folded up cabbage leaf to keep the small strips from floating up and a plastic bag full of brine. Some people use river stones in a plastic bag, or a jar full of water that is small enough to fit inside the opening of the fermenting container.
- Over the first couple days, it will release more liquid, so make sure there is room for expansion in the container or that it is placed in a glass dish in case it spills over.
- Let it sit on the counter until bubbles stop forming in the container. Roughly 12 weeks is ideal to allow the full spectrum of available lactobacillus to develop and to reduce the histamine levels.
- Refrigerate it and eat a small bowl each day. 🙂
- It will keep in the refrigerator for months.
- Check out the resources in the entry before this recipe card to learn more about what can go wrong and how to troubleshoot it.