About This Project
The gut must be healthy for you to be healthy. When your gut bacteria are out of balance, it makes you sick. We have trillions of bacterial cells existing within your gut ecosystem. There are 10 times more bacteria in a healthy gut than there are cells in the entire body. So the importance of a healthy gut environment cannot be overstated!
Raw Sauerkraut is filled with about 15 different kinds of probiotics. They support you to be healthier by boosting healthy bacteria in your gut and increasing the diversity – having many different types of bacteria in your gut. It wasn’t until I started healing myself from the inside out, balancing the gut bacteria and yeast inside my body, that I was able to tackle my health issues from the root.
Cheers to feeding your gut gorgeously!
2-3 pounds of cabbage (about one medium head)
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp caraway seeds
OPTIONAL: olive oil of coconut oil to top
- The container you use to ferment your sauerkraut is very important. For this recipe, use a wide mouth glass mason jar or an airlock glass jar. I find a gallon size jar works best, but any size you have will work. Use fresh, organic and delicious cabbage. This will ensure juiciness and extra brine (which you will find is important). Remove a few large outer cabbage leaves and set aside to use as “lids” on the sauerkraut. With a sharp knife, core the cabbage and shred it consistently. You can also use a food processor to get your desired size. I find the food processor tends to shred the cabbage into smaller pieces; so if you want longer, thicker pieces I would recommend using a sharp knife.
- Place the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl and add salt; approximately 2 tablespoons of salt for every 3 pounds of cabbage. It is important to use (a type of) sea salt because iodine in regular table salt is a disinfectant. Salt keeps the cabbage crunchy and pulls water out to create the brine.
- You don’t have to massage the cabbage until the fiber starts to break down. Give it a gentle massage and squeeze, making sure the salt is evenly spread over the cabbage. Within the first 5 minutes of mixing salt with cabbage, taste it. Your goal is to add enough salt until it tastes like a savory, salty chip. If it does not, add more salt until it is so delicious you want to have another bite – just like if you were eating a bag of irresistible chips! Let the mix sit for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, squeeze the cabbage lightly, releasing more brine. Add the caraway seeds and taste; it should taste very salty. With clean hands, fill up your fermentation jar a handful or so at a time, packing it down tight. As you pack it down, more brine will be released. Add any brine left in the mixing bowl to your jar. The top level of cabbage should be really flat; wipe off any cabbage debris on the sides of the jar. Leave 1 to 2 inches of room at the top of the jar, then top with a reserved cabbage leaf – like a lid. Pack it down so the brine is covering the cabbage leaf (and sauerkraut). The sauerkraut should be covered by brine by ¼ inch. If it isn’t, you can add a brine made of 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt dissolved in 2 cups of water.
- You have created an anaerobic environment (means no oxygen is present), where the good bacteria can thrive. If you really really want to make sure you have created an anaerobic environment, just do it the old-fashioned way. Pour a thin layer of olive oil or coconut oil over the top of your sauerkraut (and brine). The oil top layer will keep oxygen off the sauerkraut’s surface.
- Cover the jar with the lid and close securely but not too tightly. Place the jar on a plate in case it overflows during fermentation and store in a cool, dark spot, such as a kitchen cupboard. Often the sauerkraut brine (and oil if you used it) leaks out of the jar. Bubbling is natural.
- Ferment anywhere from 2-10 weeks. This will depend on the size of your jar. Larger jars need a longer ferment time. I do 4 weeks for smaller jars. The best temperature to ferment is around 69-70 degrees F. At this point you have created sauerkraut by letting it sit there and letting the bacteria work their magic. The sourness comes from the lactic acid. Lactic acid is a very safe, organic acid for the human body. It actually serves to kill other organisms you don’t want living in your body.
- Pay attention to the top layer of the sauerkraut – this is where oxygen can get in. Discoloration on the top layer (from the oxidation) is fine. If there is mold it might still be OK. When it is done fermenting, wipe out any mold, funky stuff, pieces of dried up cabbage; remove layers until you see fresh looking kraut. A white film on the top layer is not mold, it is Kahm yeast. Throw out the cabbage with kahm yeast and any remaining yeast will go away after you refrigerate it. If you used a layer of oil on the top, the coconut oil layer will pop right off as a solid removable chunk as long as the temperature is below 76F; and if you use olive oil, pour it out or mix it right into the sauerkraut for added flavor after you remove the cabbage “lid” leaf underneath.
- How to tell if your sauerkraut is good to eat:
- Smell Test: does it smell like food, olives or meat? That is good. If it smells like body odor, or not good, I would not eat it.
- Taste Test: taste, chew and swallow the sauerkraut that has passed the smell test. Do this slowly. Trust your gut.
- Store your sauerkraut in the refrigerator in a glass container (either the one that you fermented in or another glass jar). It will last about a year, but I recommend eating it everyday, with each meal. Try this for 30 days and see how you feel! People often want to go all out at first; this can cause bacteria die-off and digestive distress. Start small, especially if you are new to fermented foods. You could start with one meal a day and work your way up to eating kraut with every meal.
enjoy in gut health,