Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Super Easy Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut

You may not know this, but your "gut" is considered your second brain by many scientists.  So your digestion is actually linked to your mood as well as your ability to feel rested and relaxed.  It's also closely tied to your immune system, so avoiding common colds and the flu is as easy as improving your digestion . . . who knew? 


One of the easiest ways to improve your digestion is to add at least one serving per day of some cultured food. This includes kombucha tea, cultured vegetables, coconut keiffer, fermented-low sodium pickles or yogurt (goat or sheep's milk, coconut or almond milk). 

Since I'm away from most of my kitchen utensils, including my yogurt maker and my fermenting crock I started looking for another way to create some of my cultured sauerkraut. I found a fantastic alternative that's really easy and pretty fool-proof. However, the recipe on the site used too much salt and no culture starter, so I'm providing my own recipe but including the instruction and photos from the blog site http://sauerkrautrecipe.org.

If you like, I'll provide a really great Korean Kimchi recipes as well as a few others I love, just post something below and I'll post them later in the week.
Cruciferous Delight
Sauerkraut can be made either through natural fermentation or by heating with vinegar, sugar and salt.  Of course the natural fermentation process takes about a week before it's ready to eat, this sauerkraut contains loads of beneficial bacteria that help us properly digest our food, produce many B vitamins, regulate our immune system and so much more!  It couldn't be easier to make when using the instructions below.

Yield - 1/2 gallon

2 heads green cabbage
1 bunch Tuscan kale
1 large Granny Smith apple 

1 lemon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 packet Vegetable Culture Starter* dissolved in 6 cups pH 8.5 ionized water



*I prefer to use a culture starter to provide a wide range of probiotic strains.  My starter of choice is from Donna Gates Body Ecology website.


For simple directions that require no special equipment, see instructions below.




How to Make Sauerkraut 

(My Simple No-Fail Method!)

Courtesy of http://sauerkrautrecipe.org/
1) Gather the ingredients needed for the sauerkraut recipe you are planning make (Organic is always best!) For this example, I have chosen to prepare my ‘Pink Ginger’ sauerkraut recipe so I will need 1 head of both purple and green cabbage, fresh ginger, sea salt and a few lemons (as shown below)… To begin, you will also need to have ready and sanitized several glass fermenting jars (or a german crock), a large glass bowl (or pail), slicer (or food processor), knife, cutting board, etc…
How to Make Sauerkraut - Ingredients
2) Now that you have your ingredients, make sure to wash everything extra well. This includes any bowls, utensils, jars and especially hands! You can even peel off and discard the outer layers of the cabbage if they look like they suspect. Chop off the base of the cabbage and put aside for later (I’m going to show you a little trick for this shortly…)
How to Make Sauerkraut - Cabbage
3) Now it’s time to shred some heads (of cabbage that is!) You’ll see below that I prefer to use a ceramic blade mandoline slicer since I have found that it provides the most lovely and lively ferment (Plus it’s a great work out!). But not all of us have the patience (or arm power) to shred all that cabbage by hand… So no worries, the shred attachment on your food processor will also get the job done in no time! And if you’re making a sauerkraut recipe that has other vegetables in it, there are no rules as to how to chop and dice your veggies… just have fun experimenting with all the possibilities!
How to Make Sauerkraut - Cabbage
4) Now that everything is beautifully prepared, it’s time to simply toss it all together in a really BIG bowl and add the remaining ingredients (in this example I also added my freshly diced ginger, sea salt, lemon juice and water) You can use your hands (clean hands of course) to make sure everything is well combined…
How to Make Sauerkraut - Cabbage
5) Now stuff this mixture into your jars, packing it down tightly and leaving 2-3 inches of space from the top. I repeat, it is very important to leave room at the top to prevent a massive organic eruption upon opening the jar! Pour the remaining brine into the jars until the veggies are submerged. And here’s the helpful trick I mentioned earlier… You can use your saved cabbage bottom by cutting it to size and creating a sort of seal or platform for the top layer. This will allow you to easily push the cabbage down so that it stays submerged as it ferments. And as the last final touch I like to squeeze fresh lemon all along the top to prevent any bad germs from growing on anything exposed…
How to Make Sauerkraut - Cabbage
6) And now comes the fun part… Time to ferment! Place your sealed jars in a safe place at room temperature (and away from direct light) and allow to rest anywhere from 4 to 10 days. In this time you will see your vegetables come to life… bubbles may start forming in the jar and the colors will change… I recommend occasionally ‘burbing’ your sauerkraut by briefly opening the lids and allowing some bubbles to escape. Use a clean utensil to push everything down so that it remains submerged below the liquid. You can taste your sauerkraut along the way until it is just the way you like! And here is my ‘Pink Ginger Kraut’ after only 4 days! A beautiful hot pink color, a delicious zesty flavor and full of life!
How to Make Sauerkraut - Fermented
7) Time to enjoy all the healthful benefits of this probiotic and vitamin rich food! You can store your sauerkraut in the refridgerator indefinetaly and like I mentioned before, be extra careful when opening!! Thanks for reading!
I hope you enjoy making this recipe and if you have others you like please pass them along!

Dr. P

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