Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
Is there anything better than sauerkraut? We're addicted to it! We add it to every meal we can. I've suffered from bloating and digestive problems most of my life. Since slowly building up my probiotic foods (coconut yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut etc) that has all disappeared (apart from an occasional food exposure or highly foolish sugar binge)
I have tried making sauerkraut many ways, using bowls with weights, mason jars etc. My success was never guaranteed with these methods, it all felt like luck of the draw. I finally invested in a traditional fermenting crock (which you can find here) I can safely say it's one of the best investments I've made. Every single batch I make now is perfect, delicious and crunchy. I'm now experimenting with adding less and less salt.
You can pretty much ferment any vegetable. Fermenting them makes them easier to digest without cooking, improve the vitamin content (for example fermented turnips are a fantastic source of vit c) and in addition to all that you get an almighty dose of beneficial bacteria. If you take probiotic capsules you'll know they're normally count into the billions. Eating sauerkraut means you'll be taking in beneficial bacteria count in the trillions!
The importance of our gut flora has been underestimated for many years. Our gut flora is said to consistute around 80% of our immune system and has a sizeable impact on our wider health. Recent scientific research shows our flora can influence our mood, reverse depression, affect your weight to name just a few.
Now the key to a good kraut is not allowing the oxygen to get to it whilst still allowing it to release any gas created. I've read that some people use silicon egg poachers weighted down to achieve this and this sounds like one of the more successful methods I've come across.
Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
- 1 tbsp of Himalayan Pink Salt for every head of cabbage
- Organic red cabbage (shredded or grated)
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- Fermenting crock or mason jar and weight
- Meat tenderising hammer or wooden pounder
- Grate or shred a cabbage using a food processor. I make it in bulk so I normally use around 6 cabbages. Save the outer cabbage leaves.
- Place 1 shredded cabbage, 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tsp caraway seeds into a bowl.
- Massage with your hands.
- Leave to stand for a few minutes while you get on with shredding another cabbage.
- Return and massage shredded cabbage, it should release its juice now.
- Place into your fermenting crock, pack down with a tamper (I use an old meat tenderising hammer) You want it packed down as tightly as possible to ensure there is no oxygen in there.
- Continue until you have used all your cabbage.
- Ensure it is all tightly packed down. Wipe down edges so all little bits of cabbage is in the bottom of the jar with the rest of cabbage.
- Place outer cabbage leaves on top and press down until juice comes above cabbage leaves.
- Press down weights onto cabbage leaves (ensure no solid matter is exposed to the air, only juice) top up with a little filtered water if needed.
- Pop lid onto fermenting crock and fill reservoir with water and oil.
- Leave in a warm place like a windowsill for a few weeks, keep topping the reservoir with water as needed.
- When it's ready take some jars fill them with hot water and soak the lids in hot water.
- Empty jars and fill with sauerkraut.
- You can continue to leave them at room temperature to further ferment if you like, just ensure you allow them to off gas (open lid every few days to release any gas produced) We just stick them straight in the fridge.
NB. You can use this method with any vegetable. If a vegetable that won't produce juice you can always add saline. Get creative!