I try to make my own fermented food products a few times a year to help ensure I'm getting a decent intake of these types of foods in my diet. Regular consumption of fermented foods is involved in health maintenance and disease prevention for a list of varying conditions, including overall gut health, mood support, skin health and immune regulation.
While you can make fermented foods out of just about anything, I chose to make some classic sauerkraut on this quiet, cozy Sunday. So, without further adieu, here's my super simple sauerkraut recipe:
Super Simple Sauerkraut
- 1 small head of cabbage
- 6 tbsp non-iodized sea salt (or pickling salt)
- 6 cups filtered water
Bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil and dissolve in 6 tbsp of non-iodized sea salt. Once the salt is dissolved, add the remaining 4 cups of filtered water to your brine mixture. Set aside.
Remove external layer of cabbage leaves and set aside. Cut cabbage into quarters and remove core. Thinly slice cabbage into ribbons (about 1/2cm x 5cm is a good average size). Pack cabbage ribbons into freshly-sterilized 1L mason jars. The goal is to have the cabbage compacted but not so tight that the brine can't get through and submerge all the ribbons. I use a muddle to help me out with this.
Gently pour your brine mixture into each cabbage-packed mason jar until all your ribbons are completely submerged in the brine.
Once the cabbage has been packed into your mason jars and the brine has been added, take a full cabbage leaf and fold it into the top of the mason jar. This helps to push all the cabbage ribbons completely under the brine. Lightly screw mason jar lids on (or you can opt to cover the top of the jars with a clean towel instead).
Set your mason jars in a cool, dark place for 3-7 days, checking them periodically. Cabbage ferments quickly and can produce a lot of carbon dioxide from the fermentation process. It's important to make sure the lids on the mason jars are not screwed on tightly to allow the extra air to be released. Otherwise you'll have a bit of a mess on your hands...
It's normal for some overflow of liquid to happen after a few days of fermentation from the carbonation so it's best to keep the jars on top of a few dish towels to avoid a big mess. After the 3-7 days of fermentation (however fermented you prefer your sauerkraut to be), put the jars in the fridge to stop the fermentation process.
This recipe makes about 2 1L mason jars full of sauerkraut and lasts up to 4 weeks in the fridge.
To learn more about fermentation and try out another recipe, check out one of my past posts: How To Make Your Own Fermented Veggies.