Back in October, we explored how a balanced gut, with healthy microorganisms, balance the brain. Research is showing that a healthy gut has a huge impact on reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. If you missed this fascinating article, it can be found on our blog here.
Specialized microorganisms, referred to as psychobiotics, can be found in fermented foods.
One of the foods richest in these helpful bacteria is sauerkraut. Read on to learn how to easily make your first batch of healthy, delicious and probiotic-rich sauerkraut.
If you’ve never made kraut before, you may be feeling pretty intimidated but you’ll be shocked at how simple and tasty homemade karut is.
Kitchen Time: ~30 minutes
What you need:
- Fermenting vessel. Mason Jars and fermenting crocks both work great. Just make sure it doesn’t react to acidity so avoid aluminum, copper and cast iron.
- Salt. Sea salt or kosher salt works best, avoid salt with additives like iodine or anti-caking agents.
- Spice. Any spices you want to add such as garlic, ginger, chile flakes, allspice, anise seed and caraway seeds.
- Pounder. Use a tool to pound the cabbage and release the juices. A Vitamix tamper, wood spoon or muddler all work.
- Weight. Something to put in the top of the jar to keep the cabbage submerged. Fermenting weight, stone (boiled 10 minutes) and a ziploc bag filled with water all work. Even a carrot, half of onion or beet work too.
If you’d prefer to buy a kit with a pounder, 4 lids and 4 weights, you can buy it on Amazon here.
It’s simple to make your own sauerkraut and it's a delicious and healthy treat!
MAKING THE KRAUT
Step 1 Prepare the cabbage: Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside. Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core from each piece. Shred the cabbage. Place the cabbage in a mixing bowl.
Step 2 Salt the Cabbage: Lightly salt the cabbage. Taste it, it should taste salty but not overpowering. It’s always easier to add salt than to remove. 1 teaspoon usually does the trick.
Step 3 Massage the Cabbage: Massage the cabbage with your hands. Don’t be afraid to be rough. You want to bruise the cabbage and break down its cell wall so it releases its juices. When you’re done let it sit for 15 minutes to absorb the salt.
Step 4 Pound the Cabbage: Squeeze the cabbage with your hands for a few minutes or use whatever instrument you have to pound the cabbage until it drips in its own liquid. When you squeeze a handful and it drips like a sponge, you can move on.
Step 5 Add Spices: Add any spices you want in your kraut and be as creative as you want. A few cloves are garlic are a great addition. Ginger, chili flakes, allspice, anise seed and caraway seeds are all great options. Toss the spice through the cabbage.
Step 6 Fill Your Fermenting Vessel: Pack the cabbage tightly into the vessel using your pounding device. You want to remove pockets of air and have the juices rise up and over the vegetables. Pour any liquid from the bowl into the vessel. Leave about 2 inches between the top of the vessel and the lid to allow for a weight to keep the cabbage submerged.
Step 7 Keep the Cabbage Submerged: Place one of the large outer leaves over the shredded cabbage. This helps keep the shredded cabbage from floating to the top. Place a weight on top of the leaf. It can be a small stone (boiled for 10 minutes), a small ziplock bag filled with water or a fermentation weight. You can even use a chunk of carrot, a half of onion or a beet. The liquid should go to the top keeping the cabbage submerged. Seal the jar.
Step 8 Let your Jar Sit: Open the lid everyday or every other day to allow for gasses to escape. You can also purchase a lid that allows CO2 to escape to avoid having to “burp” the jar. Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
Step 9 Taste Your Kraut: Let your kraut ferment for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you can start to sample the batch. If you like how it tastes, put it in your fridge to slow down the fermentation process. If you think it needs some more time, let it ferment a bit longer. Be sure to taste it periodically. It can last in the fridge for up to a year.
Have fun with it and be creative. Try new spices, add vegetables and experiment.
If you want the psychobiotic benefits without having to eat sauerkraut, you can take a targeted probiotic. We carry and recommend:
Not ready to make Kraut?
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how making your sauerkraut goes.
Yours in Health,