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How to Make Sauerkraut and Why You Would Want to
Fermented food and drinks seem to be all the rage lately. You can’t turn around in the store or online without seeing something about kombucha, kefir, or fermented vegetables. What gives?!? Are ferments really all that? And how can you add them to your diet without spending too much? I would suggest starting with the gateway veggie,
Why Making Your Own Ferments is the Way to Go
I have seen plenty of ferments for sale in the places you would normally expect to see them. Our local co-op sells them, organic food stores, and I have even seen them in the big chain grocery stores. But, t
The real benefit to making ferments at home is that you know what went into it. You are completely in control. This way you know exactly where the ingredients came from and what their quality is.
What Are the Benefits of Fermented Foods?
Fermented foods can play a huge role in balancing out your gut flora. But what exactly does that mean? Our gut contain numerous bacteria. And besides the bad
Fermented foods have been shown to play a role in balancing out all the microorganisms in your gut. They are also easily digested because the fermentation process breaks down the sugars in the food. This has been shown to help decrease your risk of many of the illnesses caused by obesity.
Eating fermented foods has also been shown to improve your metabolism and are amazing for your immune system. And, they’re just plain tasty!
What Are the Best Foods to Ferment?
Besides cabbage, there are so many other wonderful ways you can get fermented foods into your diet. No worries if you’re not a fan of sauerkraut! One of my other favorite fermented veggies is sweet peppers. They are
You could also try some of the more exotic ferments like kombucha, kefir, or kimchi. And in case you didn’t know there are actually two types of kefir. The milk kefir; which I have seen in the store and is pretty much like drinkable yogurt, and water kefir. Water kefir is a lot like kombucha. But in my mind, it is a lot easier to make and maintain.
Garlic fermented in honey is another amazing option for fermenting. Oh my
A great website to check out if you’re looking for fermentation ideas is Cultures for Health. They are an amazing resource for learning how to ferment, troubleshooting any issues, and find recipes as well.
Equipment for Making Sauerkraut or Other Ferments
You really don’t need any special equipment to make fermented veggies in your own home. You can get started making sauerkraut with nothing more then a couple canning jars. Although, if you have the money, there are a couple of items that really make it easier.
How to Make Sauerkraut at Home
Time needed: 1 hour.
Steps for how to make sauerkraut
- Prepare Equipment
equipmentand produce together and wash thoroughly. Make sure your working surface is clean. Always wash your hands before you begin. Dishwashers usually have a “sanitize” setting you can use to make sure your jars and lids are clean
- Prepare Your Produce
Wash all produce and remove any bad parts. Chop cabbage into thin strips. You can also use a food processor for this step.
- Creating the Brine
cabbageinto a large bowl and add salt. For every 2 lbs of cabbage use 4tsp of salt. I recommend pickling salt. Massage the salt thoroughly into the cabbage. You will notice the cabbage begins to break down after a while. You should start to see a small amount of brine at this point. Once all of the salt is incorporated cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set aside for 30 min.
- Storing Your Sauerkraut
Put the cabbage and brine into whatever vessel you are using. Pack into the container until you have 1in of brine above the cabbage. If you don’t have enough brine you can add your own later. I recommend waiting 24 hours before adding extra brine. Sometimes it takes awhile for the brine to develop. If after 24 hours you still don’t have enough brine. Dissolve 2tsp salt in 1C of water and add to your container until the cabbage is covered. Place weights or cabbage leaf over your cabbage to keep any floating pieces down and keep the ferment submerged. Cover and place in a dark, cool location.
- Monitoring Your Ferment
Check every couple days for any floating pieces. Remove them with
cleanspoon. You should also scrape any foam off the top as well. After 2 weeks check the flavor of your sauerkraut. It is done when you have achieved a flavor you like. Sometimes this can take up to 9 weeks. Once the sauerkraut tastes good to you, you can store it in the fridge. Enjoy!
Enjoying Your Sauerkraut
If you followed the steps, congrats you just created your first ferment! If something went wrong and you ended up with mold or it just didn’t turn out the way you liked. Don’t worry! You can always try, try again! You can enjoy your kraut straight out of the jar, mix it with some smoked sausage, or just as a side dish with dinner. It’s really up to you. But try not to cook it as it will lose some of its beneficial properties.
The Wonderful World of Ferments
Once you get the hang of making sauerkraut you can move on to some of the more interesting ferments. I still haven’t gotten brave enough to try kombucha yet! I highly recommend kefir!
Now that you know how easy it is to make sauerkraut at home, I hope you give it a go. The benefits to your health really are outstanding. And it’s a great skill to have especially on a homestead. But really anyone can enjoy the healthy edition of ferments to their diet.
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