Fermented foods are experiencing a second wave of popularity due to the successful traditional food movement. The wisdom of our ancestors and the experiences of many generations prior to us are finally getting the attention they deserve. The numerous benefits of fermented foods are undeniable. They’ve been a staple of the human diet for centuries. Many people know sauerkraut as a traditional topping for a hot dog. But it is so much more than that. Did you know that in the 18th century, sailors ate sauerkraut on long voyages to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency? Also, Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China (more than 2000 years ago) ate shredded cabbage fermented in rice wine...
Sauerkraut is made by pickling cabbage in a process called lacto-fermentation. (Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen) It’s rich in enzymes that aid digestion and promote nutrient assimilation. If you consume sauerkraut, it will help to boost your body’s ability to digest foods properly and also aids in the absorption of nutrients. However, not all sauerkraut is equal. Most conventional store bought sauerkraut does not have the same benefits as homemade does. This is because it is heavily treated and pasteurized, thus destroying the fragile bacteria that sauerkraut is known for. Making your own sauerkraut is a great way to make sure you are getting enough probiotics. Luckily, it’s an incredibly simple process that requires just two basic ingredients — shredded cabbage and salt..
Simple Homemade Sauerkraut
- 5 pounds cabbage
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- Remove large outer leaves from cabbage and set aside.
- Core and shred cabbage.
- In a bowl, mix cabbage with sea salt.
- Massage with your hands for about ten minutes. Juices will be released.
- Put the cabbage in a suitable fermentation container and pound down until juices come up and cover the cabbage, leave about 2 inches of space at the top.
- Cover the sauerkraut with a plate. Place a glass jug filled with water on the plate to press it down.
- Press down to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it.
- Keep it at room temperature (covered with a towel). Fermentation will begin within a day, depending upon the room temperature. It will ferment best in a cool, dark place at a temperature that is consistently 64 to 70 degrees.
- Fermentation can take up to 3 weeks to a month.
After fermenting, you can transfer it to the refrigerator.
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