Over the past year, we’ve been experimenting with making all sorts of food with traditional methods. Recently, I reported on making Kimchi since it is considered one of the most healthy foods we can eat and its a great source of probiotics. Another tradition food and natural probiotic is sauerkraut.
Germans tend to eat sauerkraut with similar frequency and interest as Koreans eat Kimchi. As with Kimchi, the tradition of making sauerkraut goes back to over a thousand years ago. It is made by the lacto-fermentation process.
Using the basic recipe from Nourishing Traditions cookbook, I first gather all the ingredients. These include:
- 1 head of cabbage that has been cored and shredded
- 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 4 tablespoons of whey (A note on making whey: Leave a cup of raw milk at room temperature for 1 to 4 days (until milk solids separate from the semi-clear liquid (aka. whey)). Separate the whey from the milk solid by pouring the mixture through a cheese cloth.)
Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix. I fold the mixture several times using my hands. Firmly press down on the mixture with a meat hammer to release juices. Next, get out two wide-mouth mason jars and add the mixture. You’ll want to press down firmly on the contents of the jar to release more juices. Before closing the lid on the jar, check that the cabbage is an inch below the top. I was able to get two mason jars full of sauerkraut.
Let the jars sit at room temperature for a week. You may need to occasionally relieve pressure as gas builds up in the jar as seen by the concave top. Time can vary based on the room temperature. I have made the mistake of not letting this ferment long enough and I didn’t like the taste. If in double, seal up and ferment longer. When fermentation is complete, move to the refrigerator.
We tried it tonight and we really enjoyed the flavor. We’ve been buying sauerkraut for $7 a jar and this is just as good and costs around a dollar or two to make.