In my recent post 3 Reasons to Eat More Fermented Foods (and Where to Find Them), I discussed some of the health benefits of eating more fermented foods and especially, fermented vegetables. Since March is National Nutrition Month and this year the focus is on “savoring the flavor of eating right”, I wanted to share with you that the hands-down number ONE reason I eat fermented foods is because they are downright delicious.
I actually crave the tart, tangy, and slightly salty flavor of homemade kraut (sauerkraut). Making fresh homemade kraut is super simple and utterly inexpensive compared to it’s store-bought counterparts (the real raw lacto-fermented kind, not the cooked or canned kind that most think of when buying sauerkraut at the grocery store).
The recipe is simple and easy and contains only TWO real food ingredients. The waiting for it to be ready to munch on is the really really hard part. Take a deep breath, you can do it. So, get your hands on some cabbage and make it today!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 5 days to 1 month
Yield: 16 servings, ¼ cup each
1 green or red cabbage (about 2 pounds)
4 teaspoons sea salt
- Remove outer cabbage leaves. Cut cabbage in half, then in quarters. Cut out some of the cabbage core.
- Using a large chef’s knife, finely slice all cabbage. Alternatively, you could use a food processor to “slice” the cabbage.
- Put all sliced cabbage in a large mixing bowl and add salt. Massage mixture until liquid squeezes out of cabbage, about 2 to 10 minutes.
- Pack cabbage tightly into a 1 quart (32 ounce) canning jar using a blunt object or kraut pounder. Press often when filling the jar to remove air bubbles and to allow the brine liquid to come above the cabbage. Leave about 1 inch headspace in the jar since the cabbage will expand as it ferments.
- Put a lid or fermentation air-lock on the jar. Place in a cool, dark place.
- Allow cabbage to ferment for about 5 days for young, crisp sauerkraut to about 1 month for more sour, softer sauerkraut. Check on ferment and taste with a clean utensil every 2-3 days until you are happy with the flavor. If the top appears dry, pack down sauerkraut until liquid rises above the cabbage.
- Store sauerkraut in the refrigerator until it’s eaten. The cold temperature will significantly slow the fermentation process.
- If for some reason you need to make a brine to cover your vegetables, mix up 1 tablespoon sea salt per 1 cup of water.
- Once you get the hang of making basic sauerkraut, experiment with adding other ingredients to the base of cabbage like kale, turnips, beets, garlic, dill, etc.
Per ¼ cup serving: 14 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 478mg sodium, 96mg potassium, 3g total carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 1g protein, 35% DV vitamin C.
Do you have questions or comments about kraut? I’d love to hear them. Post them below!