How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut

On top of taking a daily probiotic, there are many things you can do to support your overall health and immune health, such as getting enough sleep,  staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet! 

While most people recognize that a lot of health benefits can come from eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables, not everyone knows about the amazing health benefits that come from adding fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut to your diet.

So, what are the benefits of fermented foods? Perhaps most importantly, they’re rich in beneficial bacteria that help keep your gut in balance and support healthy digestion. Additionally, fermented foods are usually high in important vitamins and minerals.

How to Make Delicious Sauerkraut at Home

Although most fermented foods are available at your local grocery store, we want to share with you how to make your own homemade sauerkraut! If you’ve never fermented your own food before, no need to panic. Sauerkraut is one of the simplest fermented foods to make, and it’s hard to mess up. You got this!

To get started, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 small red or green cabbage (2 Ibs) cored and shredded. Peel away one large outer leaf and set aside for later use (see directions)
  • 1 tablespoon fine grind salt
  • 1 teaspoon of whole spices, such as caraway, dill, or celery seed (optional)
  • 1 quart mason jar

Preparation:

  1. Cut the cabbage in half, top to bottom. Then cut each half into halves again, making 4 total quarter pieces of cabbage. Cut the bottom middle-stem portion out. 
  2. Set each quarter piece of cabbage on a cutting board, one flat side flush with the cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut as thin as possible “slices” of cabbage. 
  3. Place the sliced quarter of shredded cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 of the salt. Keep adding cabbage and salt in layers until you run out. Sprinkle on any spices you’re using.
  4. Toss cabbage well to incorporate the salt evenly. Massage and squeeze with your hands to begin breaking down the cell walls to release the juice. You can use a pickle packer if desired (usually a round, flat-bottom wooden packer). Continue this process until the cabbage is wilted and juicy. This can take several minutes. Cover with a towel and let it sit for a couple hours.
  5. Add the cabbage to a mason jar and pack it down firmly with your pickle packer. As you push the cabbage down, the brine will rise up in the jar. Keep adding and packing until the jar is filled to the shoulder. Do not overfill the jar. Two pounds of cabbage should fit pretty perfectly. 
  6. Take the clean cabbage leaf you reserved and lay it flat on your cutting board. Set the jar on the leaf and use a sharp knife to cut a circle around the jar. Lay the cut leaf on top of the cabbage in the jar to prevent bits from floating up. You can place a Pickle Pebble fermentation weight on top of the leaf to keep the cabbage submerged. Secure the jar with a lid and write the date on top. Set aside in a darker place to ferment. 

Notes:

  • At first your cabbage may be a little dry. Wait a day or two to see if it releases enough juice to submerge the cabbage. If not, make a brine of ½ tspn of salt dissolved in ½ cup of water. Add to jar until cabbage is submerged
  • Fermentation should begin within a day or two. Allow cabbage to ferment for at least 10-14 days. It can take 2-4 weeks for proper fermentation depending on the temperature where the cabbage is stored. Warmer temperatures ferment more quickly.
  • As it ferments you will notice:  Cabbage swells up, pockets of gas appear in the cabbage, color changes, bubbles or foam appear on the surface, a sulfurous aroma emits from the jar, white sediment in the bottom of the jar.
  • When you think your sauerkraut is ready, go ahead and try it! If it is not to your liking, wait another day and taste again, and so on until it reaches desired flavor. Remember:  It can take a long time! The flavor should typically be bright and tangy.

To support your digestive heath, Probulin provides daily probiotics for the entire family. For adults, try Total Care Probiotic with Prebiotics and Postbiotics. For children 4 years old and older, try My Little Bugs™ Total Care Probiotic For Kids.

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