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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recipe: Basic Sauerkraut

Fermentation, an ancient method of preserving the harvest, produces foods that are rich in probiotics and enzymes, which help improve digestion and overall health. Some common foods like yoghurt and miso contain these beneficial probiotics, but did you know that there are a host of other fermented foods that can provide the same benefits?

This recipe is from The Joy of Pickling workshop back in July, taught by Andrea Potter of Rooted Nutrition.

Basic Sauerkraut

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5 lbs (2.2 kg) green and/or red cabbage
3 tablespoons salt


Clay crock pot, or a glass/plastic jar with a wide opening
Knife, food processor with slicer blade, or hand-held shredder
Tool for "stomping", e.g. thick wooden dowel, empty beer bottle, your fist

Source: The Healthy Eating Site


1. Cut the cabbage into thin strips.

2. Sprinkle some salt on the bottom of the crock. Add cabbage.

3. With your stomping tool, push the cabbage down to make the juices come out. Add more salt.

4. Continue adding more cabbage and salting it, and repeat until the salt and cabbage are used up.

5. Place a plate over the cabbage and weight it down. Press down on the plate until the water in the crock covers the plate.

6. Cover the crock loosely with a towel or other cover.

7. Store the filled crock in a cool place and do not move it for a couple of weeks.

8. In 24 hours, the water in the crock should cover the plate that is weighing down the cabbage. If the plate is not covered with liquid, add some salted water using a dilution of 1 tablespoon salt to 1 cup of water.

9. Check the crock every day for 1 week. If you see bubbles on the surface, remove them with a clean spoon.

10. Every few days, take off the plate and weight, and wash them thoroughly with water. Put the plate and weight back on the cabbage after washing. Ensure that the spoon used is clean, and replace the lid or cloth over the crock each time.

11. After the fermentation period of 2 to 6 weeks, the sauerkraut should be ready to eat. Taste the sauerkraut with a clean fork or spoon to test if it is sour. When the sauerkraut tastes the way you like it, fill clean jars with it and put on the lids. Once packed into jars, the sauerkraut can be kept for up to a year.

How do I know if my sauerkraut is safe to eat?

The sauerkraut should taste and smell fresh. If it smells bad and/or is soft or sticky, do not eat it. Next time, you may need to use more salt.

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