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Super Easy and Super Healthy Homemade Sauerkraut

Tasty, healthy sauerkraut (sour cabbage) made its first appearance in China approximately 2,000 years ago, and is suspected to have spread to Europe by Genghis Khan. Kraut is very high in vitamin C, iron, calcium, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, phosphorus, beneficial bacteria, and fiber. Cruciferous veggies (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, turnips, etc.) have been shown to help fight colon cancer.

If you haven't yet taken advantage of the wonderful world of fermenting, sauerkraut is a great way to start as it is one of the easiest ferments to make. It only requires two ingredients: cabbage and salt. You can, of course, add in other ingredients to suit your tastes, but if you want pure, unadulterated sauerkraut, then just stick to those two ingredients and you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:

2 large heads of cabbage (white or red)
Himalayan or sea salt
4-6 tablespoons of whey (optional)

Tools:

2 wide mouth Mason jars
2 glass cups that just fit inside the Mason jars (or something else that you can use for a weight)
1 (or 2) large bowls
Food processor for shredding (or chop, shred or tear by hand)

(As always, The Best Years in Life recommends choosing organic content and fresh content as much as possible for the healthiest recipe. Also, wash all fruits and vegetables before cutting or adding to the recipe.)

  

Directions:

1. Pull off the outer layer or two of the cabbage. I bought organic cabbage and chose not to rinse it because I wanted to keep as much of the dirt intact to help start the ferment. Sounds weird, I know. Check out this post for more info. Since I didn’t rinse it, I just peeled off the outer layer or two of the cabbage and proceeded to shred. You will, of course, want to be on the lookout for black mold. If you see any, you’ll want to trim those sections out.

2. As you shred the cabbage, layer it in the large bowl with salt. I would do a layer about an inch thick, sprinkle some sea salt over it, layer more cabbage, sprinkle more salt, etc. I didn’t measure the salt, but I used roughly two tablespoons for the entire batch. My sea salt (affiliate link) is super fine grind, so a little goes a long way.

3. Once you have your cabbage shredded and salted, let it sit out for a few hours. The salt will help pull some of the moisture from the cabbage.

4. After it has sat out for a few hours, you can add whey if you want want to use that as a starter. Add 4-6 tbsp. of whey to your cabbage and stir to mix.

5. Next, with very clean hands, start packing the cabbage into the Mason jars. Pack it in as tightly as possible using your fist.

6. You’re almost done. The last thing you need to do is take a clean glass (or something else that you can use as a weight) and place it in the jars so that it’s pushing down on the cabbage. Suggestion: Use a drinking glass filled it with water. This ensures that the cabbage stays submerged under the brine during fermenting. Try to find a drinking glass that fits closely inside the wide mouthed jar.

7. Now, you’re ready to let nature work its magic. Place the kraut in an out-of-the-way place on my kitchen counter and covered the jars with a tea towel to keep any dust or particles out. You can store them on the counter, a bookshelf, in a cupboard, etc. Make sure you stick a plate under the jar to catch any brine that bubbles up and out, and keep it out of the sun. Then, leave it there for 7 days, checking on it a couple of times to make sure it was all still submerged (but don't remove the glasses in order to limit the amount of oxygen the kraut is exposed to.

8. After 7 days, move it to cold storage and let it sit for another full week before trying it. Keep in mind that it’s only going to get better the longer it ages.

Makes appx. 2 quarts

Original recipe and image source: http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2012/03/52-weeks-of-bad-a-bacteria-week-9-the-triple-s-super-simple-sauerkraut/

    

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