The benefits of Sauerkraut and how to prepare it
While you can certainly make sauerkraut from red or white cabbage. Red cabbage has a strong concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols and 6 x more vitamin C.
This recipe has huge health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities as well as being a powerful tonic for your gut.
Red Cabbage also more iron and vitamin A than white cabbage.
I love the combination. The colour is gorgeous.
It is especially beneficial in the treatment of ulcers and bloating.
A little bit every day is a great accompaniment to any meal.
1 head white cabbage
1 head red cabbage
– organic is better but if you can’t find it the fermentation process does help kill off any pesticides.
2 1/2 tablespoons grey Celtic salt or the best salt you can find. Use 1 Tablespoon salt for each 1 kg of cabbage
1 1/2 tablespoons juniper berries
1 tablespoon caraway seeds. These are optional. I have also used fennel seeds in the past.
Prepare your fermentation vessel or glass jar. Make sure it is clean and sterile and the lid fits well. This will make enough for 4- 5 medium size glass jars. If you have a tray to sit your glass jars on once full, this will prevent the juices overflowing and staining your shelf.
Clean the cabbage – Begin by removing the outer leaves of the cabbage if a bit old. Wash to remove potential contaminants.
Slice the cabbage into fat ribbons about 1 cm wide. The end result seems to work better when cutting with a sharp knife rather than grating or using the food processor.
Keep the dense end of the cabbage -it makes a handy lid for the ferment to help keep the contents submerged under the juice.
Place in a large bowl and add salt and spices, juniper berries and caraway seeds. Toss, bash, pound and massage the sliced cabbage with the salt and let sit for 30 minutes or until it starts to sweat. The cabbage will be ready once you can squeeze juice and you begin to see a purple liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
Begin the process of filling your fermentation vessel or glass jar. Push down hard and compress out any air as you go.
Fill the jar but allow a small gap at the top as the contents will bubble when fermenting. Include any liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
Compress down hard using a pounder, rolling pin or your fist. You can place a weight on top of the cabbage to effectively submerge the contents of the jar. The dense end of the cabbage is very handy for this. Your goal is to have the liquid cover the cabbage completely to provide an anaerobic environment within which the fermentation can take place.
After several hours you may be able to press the contents down further. If the cabbage looks a little dry add some filtered water to the top and stir in gently. Make sure a nice seal is made around the edge to keep oxygen and other potential contaminants out.
After 3 days you will need to burp your ferment. Open the jar carefully and submerge any cabbage that has come to the top. If you need to add a little more liquid or a weight to keep the cabbage submerged this will help keep oxygen out and allow the anaerobic process to occur.
Wait impatiently – Let it sit for a minimum of 2-3 weeks. You can easily leave it for 6 weeks or even months if desired. It will simply become sharper and sourer over time. Once you have reached your desire level of taste you can keep it in the fridge or on your shelf for many months to come.
I recommend a small amount of sauerkraut each day. It goes well with salad, broth and veggies for breakfast or a bowl of rice and steamed veg.
Play around with the flavour you like. Be brave in experimenting with flavour. Fermenting is a combination of agitation and alchemy. Create magic in the kitchen and enjoy the benefits of this wonderful prebiotic for your gut.