Homemade Sauerkraut {How To}

We all know that gut health is the best way to keep ourselves healthy.  It is core to boosting immunity and increase nutrients absorption.  We could take a magical drink or swallow a pill that will help with our gut health.  But, my way is fermentation.  Fermented foods, like sauerkraut have so much more healthy probiotics than anything on the fermented foods have been even attributed to alieving depression, preventing cancer, and even preventing diseases in children!

The best part?  It’s cheap to ferment!  It doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars a month.  You know exactly what you are eating.

Awesome, right?

That’s a huge benefit for me—I LOVE knowing exactly what I am eating.  I also love saving money, which is what fermenting does.  I mean, you can grow your own veggies to ferment and all that it costs is the cost of the jars (which you may already have), whichever fermenting system you use, and the salt.  Even if you don’t grow your own veggies, the cost isn’t high at all.

(This past summer, we made fermented pickles that were so good for your health!  As a pickle lover, it’s hard to eat store-bought pickles knowing they’re not really good for you, and could even be chock-full of dye.  But, pickling your own, especially fermented pickles, I know that I am helping keeping my body healthy and adding nutrients!  Next summer, I will do a quick little blog for you on how to make fermented pickles.)

Fermented sauerkraut is one of the best things you will ever eat!  Seriously.  Ok, maybe not seriously, because I can think of a lot of things that are amazing to eat, but still.  This stuff is so good!  We love to put it on hot dogs (I know, so good for you!), but you can also eat it with bratwurst, have it on a Reuben sandwich, or in a salad! Just remember that if you heat the sauerkraut, you will kill all the gut healthy probiotics.  You can heat it up, but do not cook it.

How do I make it? It’s easy!

  1. Find a 1-2 lb. FRESH green cabbage.  It’s best from your garden, but if that isn’t possible (I know some people are not gardeners or just don’t have the time), get one from your local farmer’s market, if possible.

Get a large 4 cup mason jar. I like to use a wide mouth jar as it’s easier to get the kraut out in the end.  Trust me on this one.

For the fermenting, I use the pickle pipes, pebbles, and packer from Masontops.  (I am not getting paid for saying this—I really use this and highly recommend it!)  It makes the process that much easier as you can pack your jars, and forget about it for a month!  It does the fermenting work for you.

 

  1. Remove the outer leaves of you cabbage.  Cut your cabbage in half, then in quarters.  Cut the core off each piece.  Then, slice/chop your cabbage as thin as you can.  (You can use a food processor for this step, but slicing by hand isn’t any faster.  I’ve tried both ways.)  Put the shredded cabbage in the largest bowl you have.

 

  1. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt on top of your shredded cabbage.

Note that not all salt is the same.  You do not want to use an over processed, refined table salt.  It’s best to use an unrefined salt that has nutrients to it.  Best are Real Salt, Himalayan salt, and Celtic Sea salt.  Just make sure it comes from a good source.  I personally use pink Himalayan salt that comes from our local health food stores.  I buy it in bulk because I ferment so much!  Whatever you do, please do not use iodine table salt or pickling salt!

  1. Here comes the workout! Seriously, you will get hot doing this.  Massage your salted shredded cabbage until there is a lot of water and it is wilted.  This requires A LOT of work!  Stream that episode of Gilmore Girls you’ve been meaning to watch and massage the mess out of it!  Imagine you’re massaging Ryan Gosling.

If you get tired of massaging it, put a heavy item (the width of the bowl) on top of a couple to a few hours to let the salt work.  After a few hours, finish massaging it until it’s wilted and wet.

 

  1. Now it’s time to pack the mason jar! Put a little in a jar; pack it down with the pickle packer as much as you can.  It’ll require some more muscle and you may break out in a little sweat!  (Who knew you could get in shape by making food?)  Keep repeating the process until the jar is full to the shoulder.  A head of cabbage should fit in the jar, but if you have some left over, make a cabbage salad, or coat it with olive oil and roast it in the oven.  So good!

  1. This is an important part. Make sure that there is water on top of the packed cabbage.  This is very important as this will prevent mold from forming.  (Trust me on this.)  If mold forms, you will have to throw the whole batch away.  Cut a circle out of one of the outer leaves you took off (unblemished) to fit on top of the packed cabbage and water.  Top with the pickle pebble or another weight (like a clean rock) and push down gently to ensure that the water covers all the cabbage. Finally, top with the pickle pipe and screw on the mason jar lid.

 

  1. Put in a dark, dry part of your house for 2 or more weeks. (I usually do it for a month or a bit more, especially in the cooler months.)  Over time, it will become colorless and somewhat transparent, as if you cooked it.  (Pictured below is a finished kraut.)  Taste after 2 weeks.  When it’s sour and tangy, it’s ready!  Replace the top with a plastic lid, and keep in the fridge for up to a year…if it lasts that long!)

 

There you have it!  How to make sauerkraut!  It’s super easy to make, but it does require some muscle.  Score—you get some amazing food and workout??  What could be better?

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3 Comments on “Homemade Sauerkraut {How To}

  1. Your pictures look great! How long do your ferments usually last in the fridge after they’re done perfecting? Thank you!

    • Hi Billy! It should last a year plus! I actually bought a mini fridge to store my ferments so it doesn’t take up space in my regular fridge. 🙂

  2. Pingback: {How To} Ferment Vegetables – Sweetly Broken

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