Fermented foods have a long history in many cultures, with sauerkraut being one of the most well-known instances of traditional fermented moist cabbage side dishes. Directly translated it means “sour cabbage” and is basically finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavor.
Commonly, sauerkraut can be found in stores but has most likely been pasteurized thereby destroying its probiotic properties. However, with fermented foods quickly gaining in popularity there are a few places where you can find live raw sauerkraut. In the fridge section of WholeFoods for example. Their prices though are highly overpriced… espeically considering that it is SO cheap and EASY to make! All it takes is a little bit of patience.
- 1 large FRESH head of green or red cabbage
- 2 tablespoons of fine Himalayan salt
- 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, caraway seeds or whole juniper berries (optional)
- 1 quart sized wide mouth mason jar
- Large knife & cutting board
- Gently remove outer leaves and set aside for later. try to keep them intact. Cut cabbage in half and then again in quarter. Cut out core and then slice very thinly.
- Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. With your clean hands, mix salt into shredded cabbage. Let sit for about an hour. After an an hour you will notice the cabbage has shrunk a bit and maybe even begun to release its juices.
- Start to massage cabbage squeezing it in your hands. Do this for about 5 – 10 minutes. This will help break down the cell walls and the cabbage will become limp and very juicy. At this point, if you are adding spices, do so now and mix well.
- One handful at a time, start packing the cabbage down into the jar. Use your fist if you can to press down hard on the cabbage removing any air bubbles that may be trapped, packing it tightly. Once you have filled the jar with the cabbage make sure the cabbage is fully submerged in the juice. Now take one of the outer leaves you removed in the beginning and place it on top of the cabbage. Press the leaf’s edges down the sides of the jar using it as a cover to keep everything under the juices.
- Close lid tightly and leave to sit on kitchen counter anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. Be sure to burp the jar (i.e. unscrewing the lid to release the pressure build up) during the first 7 – 10 days until the ferment dies down. The longer it ferments the more sour it will become. You can start to taste it from week 4 and find a sourness that suits you. Once you deem your sauerkraut ready, transfer to the refrigerator or other cold storage where it should keep for at least 6 months and up to 1 year.
About the Author LadyHawk
Tinna 'LadyHawk' Hawkins is a 9th generation Wise Woman and an avid health nut! For the past one and a half decades she has been helping people with their health as a Wellness Consultant. She is a strong proponent of traditional and ancestral nutrition, cooking from scratch, herbal medicine and essential oils, yoga, meditation, toxin-free personal and home care products, an active lifestyle, supplementation and a positive outlook on life! Together with her husband, Dr. Budweiser, they own and operate Weiser Living.