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Raw, lacto-fermented sauerkraut is one of those foods that should be consumed daily with meals. It has gut-friendly probiotics that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, and it contains vitamin K2. We love to have it as a side dish with dinner, on warm (but not hot) soups, and I personally love it with eggs in the morning.
Its not just healthy, but its perfectly salty and crunchy with a little sour tanginess to it. A lot of store-bought sauerkrauts are pasteurized which reduce the benefits of it. And the cool thing about making sauerkraut at home is that you get to control the amount of sourness. The longer you let it sit, the more sour it gets.
When people first start making fermented foods, they worry about mold and food safety. If you use the right amount of salt and keep the cabbage below the brine, then you won't have any problems. I also like to use fermentation lids and weights to help prevent mold (they aren't necessary though). If you do have a small amount of mold on the top, its okay to scoop it off and eat everything below the brine. If there is a lot of mold or it smells off, get rid of that batch.
Once you get the hang of it, you can add shredded carrot and apple for extra flavor!
Raw, Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut
- Lid or Fermentation Lid (optional)
- Large bowl
- Food Processor (optional)
- 1 medium fresh cabbage (preferably organic)
- 1-1.5 tablespoon natural salt (sea salt, real salt, Himalayan salt)
- Before you begin, make sure to sterilize your equipment and hands.
- Begin by removing the outer leaves of the cabbage. Set aside 1-2 large pieces for later.
- Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core.
- Next there are two options. 1. Cut the cabbage into cubes and feed it into a food processor to shred it evenly. 2. If you don't have a food processor, slice the cabbage into thin, even slices.
- Place the shredded cabbage into a large bowl and add the salt.
- Massage the cabbage (this will require some effort) until you see liquid in the bottom (about 5 minutes or so).
- Let the cabbage sit for an hour.
- Then, transfer the cabbage and any liquid in the bowl to the mason jar (a canning funnel can help with this). Add a few handfuls at a time and press the layer down as much as possible before adding another layer.
- Optional: If you have made sauerkraut before, you can add a few tablespoons of brine from the previous batch of sauerkraut to this batch of sauerkraut. This will act as a starter.
- Once you have added all the cabbage to the jar, and it is all pressed down below the brine, place an outer cabbage leaf or two on top of the shredded cabbage. Then place a weight on top.
- Put the lid on the jar and now it is time to wait!
- If after a couple days there isn't enough brine to cover the cabbage, you can add more brine (1 tablespoon of salt dissolved into 1 cup of filtered water).
- Let it ferment for at least two weeks (you can test it every few days around this point to get it to the right level of sourness).
- Once it is ready, transfer it to the refrigerator where it will be good for a few months.