Ward of Winter Colds With Homemade Sauerkraut

December 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Sauerkraut tastes great on more than just hot dogs. Toss it on just about anything and stay healthy the old fashioned way.

Before refrigeration, fermentation was a common method of preserving foods. Not only did fermenting foods keep them from going bad, it transformed them into super foods — making them more digestible, loading them with beneficial bacteria, Vitamin B12, and making other nutrients more bio-available.
Fermented foods have been making a comeback in recent years because of their health benefits.  Here’s an easy recipe for one of the most popular fermented foods — sauerkraut — that’ll keep your immune system strong all year long.
Two glass jars, one quart-sized, wide mouth, mason jar, a smaller jar or glass (the right size to fit through the neck of the larger one), some green or purple cabbage, and some high quality salt is all you’ll need to get started.
Follow the instructions below, and in as little as a week you can be eating your very own kraut.
1 head green cabbage, about 1 3/4 pounds
1 1/8 Tablespoon salt (non-iodized)
1. Wash your jars well.
2. Chop the cabbage (and any other vegetable you want — peppers, onions, carrots, etc.) into long, thin strands.
3. In a bowl, toss the sliced cabbage with the salt—it will start to weep water, which will dissolve the salt and make your brine.
4. Mash the cabbage down into the quart-sized jar with a mallet, spoon or your hand.
Fill the smaller jar with water and use it to press the cabbage further down into the quart jar, forcing out any air and making sure the cabbage is covered in brine. Leave it there to keep the cabbage from floating.

5. Drape a towel over the jars to keep out dust and flying insects and set it on the back of your counter.
A couple of times a day, plunge down on the inside jar to further pack the cabbage and raise the level of the brine until it is over the surface of the cabbage.
If the brine doesn’t cover the cabbage after about 24 hours, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 1/3 cup of water and pour it on top of the cabbage to raise the brine level. Then you can stop pushing down the weight jar.

6. After a few days, you may see some mold floating on the surface; this is normal and harmless. Your cabbage is safely out of reach under the brine, where more desirable organisms are working their magic. Scoop out as much of the mold as you can, wash the weight jar, and you’re good to go again.

If the thought of letting cabbage sit unrefrigerated on your counter for days at a time is unsettling, just know that all the lactic acid is killing off any harmful organisms, while bringing out the flavor and nutrient content of the cabbage.

7. Taste your cabbage every day thereafter. It will start to get tangy after just a few days at room temperature. When the flavor is perfect, put a lid on your jar and put it in the fridge (the cold slows the fermentation process), and eat it up within a few weeks.

The sourness of sauerkraut pairs well with sweeter meats, which is why it’s often served with pork.

If you have any brine left in the jar when the kraut is gone, don’t throw it out! Kraut juice is a popular digestive tonic. Drink it straight, add it to salad dressing or add to any of your favorite German dishes.