About 3-4 months into working out at my Crossfit gym, I finally got the guts to go to one of the food classes. Vans, our girl coach, who now owns her own fermenting business, was teaching a class on the basics of fermenting and it’s benefits.
Quite honestly, I knew nothing of fermented foods. My only view of bacteria was bad – like, ew, go wash those hands! So when I was hearing that fermented foods provide bacteria for the gut that is essential to digestion and to overall better health, I was shocked. Then Vans used the word probiotics. I could relate to that. Everyone has at least heard yogurt is great because of these probiotics – completely unknown to me as to what they were, but I trusted.
Vans gave us samples of different kinds of fermented foods. We tried kimchi, onion mixes, fermented brussel sprouts, and then sauerkraut. When I tried the sauerkraut, I was blown away from the delicious, tart, thirst quenching taste! I knew I already liked the store bought sauerkraut, but this was WAY better tasting and way better for your health. I was hooked.
I stayed the entire class and Vans imparted all her great wisdom on the fermenting practice.
Us Voths now eat it all! It’s either sourdough breads, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, or kraut that we have with every meal.
We thoroughly love the variety of tastes fermented foods bring to our kitchen, but even if we didn’t, I’d still incorporate them in due to their health benefits.
Some of the health benefits of fermented sauerkraut:
- its ability to increase your digestive health,
- boost your circulation,
- protect your heart health,
- provide you with quick energy,
- stimulate your immune system,
- strengthen your bones,
- reduce your overall cholesterol levels,
- eliminate inflammation,
- protect against certain cancer,
- and even improve your vision and skin health.
Isn’t that enough to convince you to start eating sauerkraut? It is me!
Besides, what else will you do with all that cabbage from your garden.
Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe
Fermented Cabbage or Sauerkraut Recipe
1 head cabbage, green or red – approximately 3-4lbs.
2 T. non-iodized salt, I use Pink Himalayan Salt
1 quart jar with airtight lid, I use Quart Wide Mouth Mason Jars
Wash everything – It’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with the cleanest environment as possible. Make sure all soap residue is rinsed off. You will be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage so wash those too!
Prep cabbage – Discard or compost the wilted, limp outer leaves. Cut the middle stem out of the cabbage by using two slices in the shape of a triangle.
Slice cabbage – Your goal is to cut the cabbage into very thin ribbons. You can either use your food processor to do so or cut the cabbage into wedges then slice each wedge crosswise to achieve thin ribbons.
Combine cabbage and salt – Transfer cabbage to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over the top. Work the salt into the cabbage by massaging the cabbage with your hands. Gradually, the cabbage will begin to be watery and limp. This will take 3-5 minutes.
Pack the cabbage into the jar – Place the mason jar in the middle of your mixing bowl and grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the jar. Every so often, press down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar. Don’t fill the jar to the top to prevent leaking.
Cover the jar – If the liquid from your cabbage did not cover the cabbage add water until all the cabbage is covered in liquid.
Set the jar aside to ferment – Put the jar on a shelf out of direct sunlight in room temperature to ferment for 3-10 days. beware that your jar may leak purple liquid