Last month I made a huge batch of one of my favorite foods - sauerkraut! Mmmm, I go through periods of eating a lot of it - sometimes it gets my tummy bubbly (read: gassy) if I haven't had it for a while, but that's just the body adjusting. Unpasteurized sauerkraut and any fermented veggies contain bacteria that is highly beneficial for the gut, aiding in better digestion.
While you can add all kinds ingredients to your kraut to flavor it, I prefer mine pretty simple - either plain, with caraway seeds, or dill. In the past I've made it with dill and garlic which is also nice.
It's really very easy and inexpensive to make kraut, so if you haven't already, give it a try! I'm sure there are a million variations but here's how I make it:
1 large green or red cabbage
1 tablespoon himalayan salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, dried dill, or other herbs/spices (optional)
1. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and thinly slice it with a knife or in a food processor.
2. Toss the cabbage and salt together in a large bowl. The salt draws water out of the cabbage, creating a brine, and also preserves it during the fermenting process. I added caraway seeds at this point.
3. Massage the cabbage, speeding up the release of water, and/or place a plate with a weight (rock, or jar filled with water) on top until you notice the liquid. I like to massage it and then let it sit with a weight for 20- 30 minutes. A good amount of liquid should be release before moving on.
4. Add herbs/spices of your choice, and/or other veggies and toss together.
5. Spoon the mixture into glass jars and then firmly press the kraut down (I use a wooden dough press) to release all air bubbles, and to bring up liquid level. The liquid must rise above the cabbage.
6. I like to press the extra cabbage leaves on top, to hold the mixture down.
7. Screw the lids on and set the jars in a neutral temperature for a few days. Check after 3 days and then store in the fridge, or ferment for a few more days. I usually ferment an old large pickle jar for 6-7 days. It will continue to ferment as it's left out, and will stop once refrigerated.
Note: Sometimes a layer of mold will form on top of the kraut. Apparently it's still safe after skimming this top layer off, however I did have a jar go bad once and threw it out.
I hope you'll try a batch now that you see how easy it is to prepare. Have a happy weekend!