The popularity of fermented foods – such as sauerkraut – and drinks rich in friendly bacteria – such as kombucha – has grown, thanks in part to an explosion of studies into the role that our gut and its microbiome play in our overall health.
It is comforting to know you are not alone if you are facing gut issues and that there are tools out there to help you on the path to robust health.
One of the questions I get asked most often is ‘How do I make my own Sauerkraut?’ This is great for me as it’s one of the techniques I love to teach the most! A lot of people think it is too hard, too time consuming or that they need special equipment. Some are are simply scared of doing it wrong and getting sick from it (I had each and every one of those blocks too!)
I want to demystify some of the worry and work around fermenting for the first time and show you just how easy and quick it can be to make your first batch of gut-loving Sauerkraut! I have broken it down step-by-step here:
What You’ll Need:
- 1 x organic cabbage
- 1 ½ tablespoon pure salt (do not use idodised salt)
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
Recycled jars that have been washed well and have lids that seal tightly.
- Rinse whole cabbage lightly.
- Remove outer leaves that are damaged or tough.
- Place cabbage on chopping board and cut off the excess base stalk (keep for later).
- Cut the cabbage in half from the top to the stalk.
- Cut out the heart of the cabbage.
- Finely cut the cabbage into fine shreds.
- Place the shredded cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle salt over. Toss through and leave to rest for a few minutes.
- Begin massaging the cabbage. The salt will begin to breakdown the fibres of the cabbage and it will begin to soften and release its ‘juice’. This may take up to 5 minutes so be patient and enjoy!
- Once the cabbage has become limp and has released lots of its ‘juice’, sprinkle over your spices (caraway, juniper berries and bay leaves). Mix through.
- Begin tightly packing your cabbage into the glass jars. Pack down firmly as you go to get rid of air bubbles and so that the cabbage is submerged with the ‘juice’. You will able to fit in a lot of cabbage! Leave about 4cm space from the top of the jar to allow for expansion and bubbling.
- Using the base stem you cut off earlier or one of the outer leaves, trim and fold to use as a ‘packer’ in the top of the jar to ensure the cabbage is submerged under the ‘juice’ and will stay in place. The cabbage needs to stay submerged to keep the oxygen away from it.
- Seal lid tightly.
- Leave your jars to sit with a plate underneath at room temperature for approximately 5 days. Time will vary depending on the climate, and your own personal taste – you will get to know this so don’t worry! Your ferments may bubble over, get gassy and even leak slightly…this is normal and not a concern.
- Place your ferments in the fridge and once well chilled, open, discard the ‘packer’ and enjoy when you are ready.
We’d love to see your ferments so please tag us at @changinghabits_hq so we can see what you have been up to! Happy changing habits!
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