In todays post I am showing you how to make Easy Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut in a simple step by step tutorial.
It was in the last couple of years that I began my journey of experimenting with fermentation. I had no clue about fermented foods at the time but my interest sparked one day while listening to a podcast of all things. The lady being interviewed began speaking about her diet and what she fed her family.
She described in great detail the importance of incorporating fermented foods into our diets. How these foods were “alive” and aided our bodies in such ways that kept them balanced. What interested me was how she said her food made her feel after eating it. I thought of my typical sleepiness that occurred every day after lunchtime. A time when I have another coffee to keep me going.
So I began my search for ways to incorporate them into my kitchen. Since then I have several fermented foods that I keep regularly in our kitchen that we try to have daily. This Easy Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut is something I try to make year-round. I also make Homemade Yogurt, Ginger Beer in the summer, and Fermented Pickles as well.
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Why I Love Fermented Sauerkraut
If you didn’t already know this, sauerkraut is an “alive” food. Packed with healthy bacteria and rich probiotics that aid in the proper function of our digestive systems. Adding them to your diet can help with energy, aid digestion, boost the immune system and even help with cognitive health.
I love Easy Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut in particular as it is a versatile fermented food. One I can easily add to tacos, soups, salads, or anything. Most of the time it enhances the flavor of whatever food I have added it to.
But even if I don’t add it to the food, it is super easy to add it to our meal time just by placing it on the table when serving a meal. Which is exactly what I do in our home most of the time. I place our jug directly on the table at meal times and we each scoop out a bit onto our plates. It is a tasty side and a habit worth creating. By doing this so often, my daughter now asks for it instead of me reminding her to add some to her plate. I am sure after a while, if you have children they will likely do the same.
What You Will Need To Make It
3 small cabbages
2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 gallon mason jar
ferment lid or piece of cloth
food processor (optional)
jar weights (optional)
Begin by chopping up the cabbage.
Make sure to leave out one or two large pieces of cabbage uncut for later use. For cutting the cabbage, you can opt to use a food processor if you want it to be quicker and your sauerkraut a bit finer chopped. I personally just use a knife as we like our sauerkraut on the thicker side.
Place the chopped cabbage in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the salt.
Then begin massaging the cabbage with your hands. This will help the cabbage to release its water creating a brine for the fermentation process. This can take several minutes. You can also massage the salt in and let it sit for several minutes. Then massage it a bit more or stir it around with a large spoon.
You want the cabbage to feel wet and see the brine form inside the bowl before packing it into your jar. When the cabbage is ready, begin packing it into a clean mason jar. Smash the cabbage down as you add more.
This will also help the brine to form as you work with the cabbage. Three small cabbages should fit one full 1/2 gallon mason jar when packed tightly.
When filled, take the saved large cabbage leaves and smash them over the top creating a lid or barrier between the top and the chopped cabbage. You want everything in the jar to be below the brine line to prevent mold.
Make sure to check the sauerkraut daily to ensure the cabbage is underneath the water line.
The sauerkraut takes about 3-5 days depending on your home temperature. You can taste-test the sauerkraut to see if it is to your liking. If not, allow it to sit longer. The sauerkraut is dull in color but the best way to ensure it is ready is by tasting it. Place the jar in the fridge when ready. Sauerkraut has a long shelf life and should stay fresh for weeks.
Benefits of Fermented Food
As I mentioned above, sauerkraut is an alive fermented food. During the act of the fermentation process, good bacteria are collected in the environment around the food being fermented. The good bacteria take over the bad bacteria essentially and the food becomes what appears to be “pickled”. This is typically when you know the item is ready to be eaten. The good bacteria in fermented food is excellent for your overall gut health and is known as a probiotic.
By consuming probiotic foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes that will increase the health of your gut microbiome and intestinal flora. This can help your body absorb more of the nutrients in the food you are consuming, increase the availability of nutrients, help your body digest better, and aid in mood. Since the gut and brain are linked, it stands to reason that a healthy gut can influence our moods and emotions.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, a large portion of the immune system is housed in the gut. By adding in beneficial bacteria you are supporting your gut lining which makes the immune system more robust.
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- 3 small to medium cabbages
- 2 tbsp of sea salt
- Begin by washing the cabbage and removing the wilted outer leaves. Half and remove the core. Make sure to leave out one or two large pieces of cabbage uncut for later use.
- For cutting the cabbage, you can opt to use a food processor if you want it to be quicker and your sauerkraut a bit finer chopped. I personally just use a knife as we like our sauerkraut on the thicker side.
- Place the chopped cabbage in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle over the salt.
- Then begin massaging the cabbage with your hands. This will help the cabbage to release its water while creating a brine for the fermentation process. This can take several minutes. You can also massage the salt in and let it sit for several minutes. Then massage it a bit more or stir it around with a large spoon. You want the cabbage to feel wet and see the brine form inside the bowl before packing it into your jar.
- When the cabbage is ready, begin packing it in a clean mason jar.
- Smash the cabbage down as you add more. This will also help the brine to form as you work with the cabbage. Three small to medium cabbages should fill one full 1/2 gallon mason jar when packed tightly.
- When filled, take the saved large cabbage leaves and smash them over the top creating a lid or barrier between the top and the chopped cabbage. You want everything in the jar to be below the brine line to prevent mold.
- Remove the center part of the mason jar lid and replace it with either a fermentation lid or cut a small piece of fabric as I did in the photo. This will allow airflow and keep fruit flies out.
- If you are having issues with your cabbage staying underneath the water line even with the cabbage leaf. You can use fermentation weights or add a few rocks to a ziplock bag then place them on the top to weigh it down.
- Your sauerkraut will take anywhere from 4 to 6 days depending on the temperature in your home. You can taste test it to see if it is to your liking. If it is still in a crunchier state, simply leave it out another day or so. Then taste test again. When ready store it in the fridge with a plastic mason jar lid or the original lid it came with.
You Will Need:
crock or 1/2 gallon mason jar
piece of fabric or fermentation lid
fermentation weights or rocks in a zip lock bag (optional)
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