If you decided to give fermented foods a try after reading my post on benefits of eating fermented foods, Sauerkraut is one of the easiest and cheapest fermented foods to try. Also, coming from Eastern Europe, it is much closer to my roots than making, let's say, kimchi. Sauerkraut is my country's national food and the recipe was handed in every family from mother to daughter during centuries.
Sauerkraut certainly is a superfood. It contains high levels of dietary fiber, as well as significant levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and various B vitamins. Furthermore, it is a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium, and calcium.
Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe
1 head of purple or green cabbage
1 tablespoon of natural sea salt (must be unrefined, table salt contains additives!)
caraway seeds (optional)
Utensils: glass jar, lid with airlock
1. Core a fresh cabbage. Remove any wilted outer leaves. Set aside a leaf for topping the kraut.
2. Slice the cabbage into fine shreds. Place the shreds into a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Then 'massage' the cabbage shreds with the salt with your clean hands for a few minutes to draw out the moisture. In the older days, this was done by 'walking' on the cabbage in a large wooden crock.
3. After the cabbage is swimming in its own brine, pack the shreds into a glass jar. Leave some space on the top and press tightly the shreds toward the bottom. The shreds should be covered in brine, if you don't have enough liquid, mix up a little more - half tsp of salt in half cup of water.
4. Place your reserved cabbage leaf on top of the shreds and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Then top the leaf with a jar weight (long ago they used either wooden block or boiled stone) in order to keep the shreds fully submerged. You can also fill a plastic bag with water, close it tightly and use it as a jar weight (although not ideal option).
5. Screw a cap very tightly onto the jar. Insert the airlock about 3/4 of the way up the stem. Fill with water to the fill line.
6. Place the jar of kraut in a dark place at room temperature and let the kraut sit at least 4 weeks or up to 12 weeks. When ready, remove the airlock, top with storage cap and place in the fridge. There you go - your own sauerkraut full of beneficial prebiotics!