It took me awhile to figure out the very first post (!!) for the Lunar View Farm blog. I finally decided the first topic would be how to make sauerkraut, which I have been making for years, but the wrong way! Truthfully there are very few wrong ways to make sauerkraut. Before, I was home canning my sauerkraut which killed any good bacteria that was made during the fermentation process. We now have a large jar of sauerkraut in the refrigerator, rather than on the canning shelf. Since it is easily accessible and delicious we eat sauerkraut everyday, as a side or mixed in a salad for lunch or dinner. If you aren’t making it yet we can help you out with this easy and fun recipe! First off though, what is with the name sauerkraut?
What is sauerkraut? And why is it not called cabbagekraut?
Sauerkraut is finely chopped cabbage mixed with salt, submerged and fermented (also called lacto-fermented)! As the raw cabbage ferments it creates a yummy gut-healthy probiotic packed full of nutrients like lactic acid bacteria, which is where the name lacto-fermented comes from. It is rich in several minerals and vitamins like C, B, A, and K and it easy to make at home!
The word sauerkraut is two German words put together, Sauer means sour and Krut (High German) means cabbage. Undoubtedly this is why the name sauerkraut is used rather than cabbagekraut. Even though sauerkraut has German ties, it was originally invented in China over 2,000 years ago. During the creation of the great wall of China salt was scare, therefore rice wine was used to ferment and preserve the cabbage. It was fed to the workers as a cheap and easy food that could be made in bulk. (source)
Here is one of our favorite songs from 1926. We bought a CD a few years back of 100 yodeling songs and this was included. If you need of a good song click below!
What kind of salt should I use to make homemade sauerkraut?
Non-iodized sea salt is best when fermenting, either coarse or fine sea salt work.
What kind of cabbage should I use for sauerkraut?
Any variety of cabbage can be used, this includes early, mid or late season and even purple cabbage. Tight round heads of cabbage (drum head variety) are traditionally used, which are easy to slice and available in the fall (late) season. Planning your spring garden? Cabbage is easy to grow, we grow about 6-8 heads, using some for fresh summer coleslaw and the rest for sauerkraut or cultured vegetables.
How much sauerkraut do you have to eat to get the health benefits?
Eating fermented food every day is best and mix it up! If you need an exact amount about 2 tablespoons should be good, you may need to start slow if your body is not used to eating fermented foods.
How long does sauerkraut take to ferment?
Sauerkraut has a few different fermentation processes and it is especially fun for children to watch so be sure to put it somewhere where they can see! Start tasting after the sixth day, if you want it tangier let it sit a few more days. The longer the sauerkraut sits the more tangy it will become. Once it is to your liking put it in the refrigerator, it will continue to ferment but at a much slower rate.
As the sauerkraut processes the liquid will expand, you want to be sure to keep your liquid and cabbage two inches below the top. I seem to always overfill mine, therefore I put mine in a bread pan or just slide a plate underneath.
What other supplies do you need to make sauerkraut?
Fermentation lid: We love Kraut Source ferment lids as a weight. Clean cabbage leaves can also be used as a weight or an Airlock lid, the key is to be sure that the cabbage is completely submerged. We have even used a zip-lock bag filled with water.
Canning Jar: We make a large batch and like the 1/2 quart size
Non-Iodized Sea Salt: Again, we like Celtic Sea Salt.
Filtered Water: Water that is free of Chlorine is best, spring water is good too.
Spices (optional): We love adding caraway seeds!
Can I add spices or herbs to my sauerkraut?
Yes, spices and herbs are a great way to add a little flavor to the sauerkraut. We like to add caraway seeds, other options are juniper berries, dill, fennel, and celery seeds or for a little spice try chili powder or pepper. For a sweeter flavor, add cinnamon sticks or cloves. Feel free to experiment here with your favorite spices! A great resources for organic spices is Mountain Rose Herbs or you can add fresh.
Adding fruits and vegetables to your sauerkraut
Many varieties of fruits and vegetables can be added to your sauerkraut, including lemons, blueberries, apples, garlic, turmeric, ginger and root vegetables like carrots, radishes and beets. We recommend adding a culture (1/4 cup kefir whey) if you plan on adding fruits and vegetables. They can be chopped, sliced or shredded, adding not making a pretty sauerkraut but can add a variety of different flavors.
Do I need a culture to make sauerkraut?
No, if you were culturing other vegetables it is recommended to use a culture. Cabbage has its own fermentation properties that make it safe and easy to culture with just water and salt.
How to make sauerkraut:
- 1 small head of red or green
- 1 tablespoons of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon whole caraway seeds (optional)
- Filtered water
- Wide mouth quart mason jar
1. Remove the outer leaves and the core of the cabbage.
2. Shred the cabbage, either by hand or a food processor.
3. In a large bowl, add the shredded cabbage and sprinkle
with sea salt.
4. Using clean hands massage and squeeze the cabbage for
5-15 minutes, or until a large amount of liquid is visible on the bottom of the bowl.
5. Add in the caraway seeds.
6. Pack the cabbage into the mason jar, using your fist to
tamp the cabbage tightly. Liquid should appear at the top, add in all the brine from bowl or filtered water as needed, leaving 2 to 3 inches of headspace from the top of the cabbage and the opening of the jar. This will allow the mixture to bubble and expand as it ferments.
7. Close the jar, either with an airlock lid or a regular lid, set at room temperature out of direct sunlight, for about 6 days. If the
flavor and texture are not as desired, check every day or two until it achieves the tang you prefer.
8. Store the sauerkraut in the refrigerator for up to one year.
- If you are using a regular lid check the cabbage daily to
make sure it is fully submerged in the brine, simply push it down if it is not fully covered.
- Celtic sea salt is a great option, just be sure to use non-iodized
- A large clean cabbage leaf can also be used to keep the
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 ounces Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 398mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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