Incorporating healing foods, like sauerkraut, is one the most important parts of my program with all my clients. Quality probiotic supplements are expensive, and limited in the amount of beneficial bacteria they can provide. Fermented foods on the other hand can provide up to a trillion probiotics per serving. Total bonus is making fermented foods yourself costs a fraction of the price.
Sauerkraut: The Best Beginner Fermented Food
What I like about sauerkraut is that it is super easy to make. My fermenting journey started with continuous brew kombucha. I brewed for over 2 years, and when life got busy, I got behind. So I decided to try my hand at saurkraut, even though I thought I didn’t like it. I’m so glad I did! Homemade tastes so much better and this recipe is my absolute favorite. The time requirement is minimal and the amount of servings you get will save you so much money.
There are a few tips I need to share how to properly make sauerkraut. The most important tip is that it must stay immersed in water. You have to weigh it down and check on it to make sure it stays covered. If the cabbage is exposed to air, mold is likely to grow. Due to the fermenting process, water may escape the jar with the gasses that release. I usually have to add water around day 4. There are times that a white film will grow on top. As long as it’s not slimy and doesn’t look like the mold that grows on bread, just wipe it off and remove the top leaf. It’ll be fine.
The other way to prevent mold is to make sure your vegetables are softened by massage before fermenting them. Hard vegetables will contain air bubbles and air equals mold in this type of fermentation process. If mold does grow on top, toss it. You cannot remove it all as it grows “roots” and will be spread throughout the jar.
For this recipe you will need one head of organic green cabbage, 1/1 of one organic english cucumber, 1-2 cloves of organic garlic, sea salt, and distilled water. You will also need a sanitized cutting board, large chopping knife, large bowl and a sanitized 20-24 ounce glass jar with airtight lid.
Peel off the soft outer leaves, trying not to rip them into small pieces, and set them aside. One will be placed on top of the chopped veggies to help keep them protected and submerged. Chop cabbage into thin strips no more than 2 inches long and place into your large bowl. Chop cucumber into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the cabbage. Finally, finely mince garlic and add to the veggies. Cover with 2-3 tablespoons of sea salt and massage until the leaves no longer make a “crunch” sound. Then massage a couple more minutes for good measure.
Load up your jar and firmly press down to try to remove as much air as possible. Place a cabbage leaf on top and press down firmly. Weigh down with marbles or clean rocks. Add water and cover by 1 inch. Place on lid and store in a dark cabinet inside of a bowl to catch water if it overflows. Check on it after a couple days to make sure it has stayed submerged. Add more water if needed. I like to leave mine in the cupboard for 7 days, then move the fridge. Some people will let theirs ferment as long as 28 days. I recommend opening it up and tasting a piece after 5 days and then every couple days until it tastes good to you.
Once it tastes good to you, move to the fridge. It stays good for months so you don’t have to worry about it expiring
If you are not use to taking daily probiotics, I strongly recommend starting with about a tsp amount of kraut. You can definitely eat too much and it will lead to intense stomach pain. It’s not bad for you, but it’s a lot of bacteria to introduce all at once and the existing bacteria freaks out. So start small and gradually increase the amount until you’re consuming 1-2 tablespoons daily. When sick, increase the amount you eat to 3-6 tablespoons, to stomach tolerance.
Have you ever made sauerkraut before or made this recipe? Leave your comments, thoughts, and questions below!
Sauerkraut with Pickles and Garlic
- 1 head green cabbage
- 1/2 english cucumber
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp real sea salt
- distilled water
- On a clean cutting board, remove outer leaves from cabbage, making sure to leave them as big as possible. Set aside, you'll use them later.
- Finely chop entire head of cabbage. You want thin pieces that are no more than an inch or two long.
- Place into a large bowl.
- Chop the half of the english cucumber into small pieces. Like 1/4 in by 1/4 in. Place with cabbage.
- Finely chop one to two cloves of garlic, depending on your love of garlic. Add to cabbage and cucumber.
- Add sea salt and massage until there is no longer a crunch when you squeeze it in your hands. Then do another couple rounds of massaging to make sure everything is soft.
- Place into a sanitized spaghetti jar or 20 ounce narrow topped glass jar. Compact the mixture down as much as humanly possible. You do not want any air bubbles as mold can grow in them.
- Fill up jar to one inch from the top with distilled water. Use the soft, outer cabbage leaf to put on top and press down so that it's covered with water by a good half inch to once inch. Weigh it down with sterile rocks or marbles in a bag or jar.
- Put in a bowl then place in a dark cabinet for 7-10 days. Checking after 4 days to make sure cabbage completely under water. If not, press down and add more if needed.
- Taste the sauerkraut to make sure it's to your liking. Once there, clean off outside of jar and store in the fridge until you run out and need to make more!