I have been making sauerkraut for many years using my Dad’s delicious and unique sauerkraut recipe – my family used to make it together and in large quantities every autumn. It was fun and making it now always brings fond childhood memories for me.
Having made the sauerkraut once, you will see how easy is to do it and how little time it takes to prepare this wonderful, healing food as well as a proven remedy for so many ills!
I made the latest batch recently and it’s one of the best ones so far (see the photos). Check out my well-tested, bullet-proof sauerkraut recipe below with photos to show the end result.
Why is sauerkraut so good for us?
Fermented foods are exceptionally high in nutrients and are the best natural probiotics available, with billions of good bacteria in just one tablespoon of sauerkraut, kefir and fermented other foods!
Fermentation pre-digests the food making it easy for the gut to process and absorb even by people with damaged guts and digestive problems.
The process also releases nutrients from the food making them more bioavailable for the body. For example, sauerkraut contains 20 times more bio-available vitamin C than fresh cabbage which has high vitamin C content as well.
It’s important to know that only homemade sauerkraut has the healing properties. Virtually all commercially available sauerkraut have been pasteurised or processed in some way so it has a long shelf life, of course pasteurisation kills the good bacteria we want. Therefore, to gain the many health benefits from eating sauerkraut, it must be made the traditional way and consumed raw.
Major benefits include:
- High potency original and natural probiotic, rich in enzymes and high in fibre. Balances the gut flora and drives out the parasites
- Supports the immune system (via increasing the beneficial flora) enabling it to better deal with any infections, cancer and numerous other diseases
- High in vitamins C and K – both essential for health including bones, joints and muscles
- Great for detox and cleansing
- Regular consumption over time will help to restore normal stomach acid production normalising digestion and fixing reflux thus eliminating the need for any harmful drugs
Here is my sauerkraut recipe – it has a truly unique flavour you’ll just have to experience for yourself!
Ingredients (for about two 1 litre jars or one bigger one) – all organic vegetables are best
- 2 medium cabbage heads with the cores removed and finely shredded (the finer the better as more juice will be released faster). Reserve 3-4 large outer leaves to cover the sauerkraut once it’s in the jars
- 2-3 tablespoons of Celtic salt / sea salt
- 1-2 carrots finely shredded
- 1 onion finely shredded
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 2 all spice (1 for each jar)
- 2 small bay leaves (1 for each jar)
- 1 tsp of caraway seeds (optional)
- Start shredding/chopping the cabbage and transfer it to a large ceramic or glass bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt (do the transfer each time after you shred about half a cabbage). The salt helps to pull the water from the cabbage which creates the brine in which the sauerkraut will ferment.
- Add all other ingredients and mix well. Then start to knead the mix, best with your hands, until the volume decreases by half and the cabbage releases its juice. It may take 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency i.e. when the cabbage is just covered with the liquid. If after the thorough kneading there is not enough juice, you can add some water to the mixture.
- When kneading is done, tightly pack the cabbage into the sterilised jar(s) eliminating any air bubbles and making sure the cabbage is submerged in its juice at all times.
- When the jar is about 90% full, cover it with one outer cabbage leaf cut into pieces (as required), make sure the leaves are also submerged in the juice. Next put some weight on top (such as a rock or a cup with water) to keep the contents submerged during the fermentation. Important: if cabbage is exposed to the air, it will rot instead of fermenting.
- Cover the jars with plastic wrap with a few holes poked in it to let out the gases, and leave in room temperature for around 7-10 days (in warm weather, longer in colder conditions). Taste the cabbage after 5-7 days to see if it’s ready – it should be crunchy, tangy and mouth-watering. Once the sauerkraut tastes the way you like it, remove the stone and the outer cabbage leaves plus any scum that may develop as a part of the process (this is normal). Discard any parts of the leaves / sauerkraut that have any traces of the scum or any discoloured cabbage (usually the top layer). Trust your nose – if it smells and tastes OK, it most likely is.
Once fermentation is over, it’s best to keep it in the fridge to slow down further fermenting process, especially in the warm weather. It should keep for 2-3 months or longer but it never lasts that long in my place:).
Once you make the ‘basic’ sauerkraut you can start to create your own tasty blends adding other vegetables and herbs such as chilli, beetroot, radish, ginger, garlic, dill and parsley or seaweeds (e.g. wakame, kelp or dulse) to make it extra rich in minerals.
If you add half a red cabbage to the mix whilst making a batch you’ll get a great looking and tasting pink mix. In fact you can make sauerkraut in many colours – add more carrots to make it orange or green herbs to create an emerald green blend.
Happy sauerkraut making! Please let me know how you go in the comments section below. Do you have a great sauerkraut recipe? Share it in comments below!
Check out my other fermented vegetables recipes for beetroot kvass and vegetable mix.
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Joanna Sochan is a Natural Medicine Practitioner and founder of Naturimedica Holistic Health & Wellness. She has a passion for helping her clients transform their lives by becoming healthy and well naturally. Joanna is an adrenal fatigue, sleep and gut health expert helping tired, stressed or unwell individuals to regain their energy, sleep better and be happier, more relaxed and calm. Joanna practices in Sydney and Lake Macquarie, Australia and also conducts Skype / phone consultations for clients Australia-wide. View full bio.