Make Your Own Sauerkraut
Why homemade sauerkraut on an outdoor cooking site? Because anyone who has ever cooked outside has done either hot dogs or brats over a fire, and what goes better with dogs or sausage than sauerkraut. This recipe can be put in a jar and taken to any outdoor cooking site. Besides, I love to ferment food, from kombucha to sourdough, fermentation is fun (check out my kombucha recipe here).
Healthy and Declicious
The great thing about fermented foods is that it restores healthy bacteria into your system when you eat it. This helps to keep your immune system healthy, and in turn, keeps you healthy. According to Wellness Mama, the health benefits of fermented foods include the following.
Probiotics– Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity!
Absorb Food Better– Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods.
Budget Friendly–Incorporating healthy foods into your diet can get expensive, but not so with fermented foods. You can make your own whey at home for a couple of dollars. Kefir and kombucha can be made at home as well, and cost only pennies per serving. Adding these things to your diet can also cut down on the number of supplements you need, helping the budget further.
Preserves Food Easily– Homemade salsa only lasts a few days in the fridge- Fermented homemade salsa lasts months! The same goes for sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other garden foods. Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients like you would with traditional canning.
So with all these health benefits it makes sense to incorporate fermented foods into your diet.
One trick to making sauerkraut is to massage the cabbage and salt mixture so that it produces a brine which will ferment the cabbage. The cabbage should be weighed down so that it is completely submerged in the brine or it may mold. It is important that you have enough brine so add a little water if needed. One way to weigh down the cabbage is to take the larger outer leaves of the cabbage and use them as the topper to the sauerkraut. Cut off a portion of the top leaves where the seam runs down the middle of the cabbage. The leaves should fit the size of your fermentation container. If your container is very large, use several leaves layered. Then place a weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. Alternatively, you can use a crock that includes a weight that is specifically designed for such things.
I really enjoy making sauerkraut because it takes a certain amount of muscle power to create the juice for fermentation. This can be great therapy if you have some frustration you need to get off your chest. Making sauerkraut can make cabbage last a long time because the brining and fermentation preserve it. Lastly, I love how it tastes. Delicious!
Homemade sauerkraut is not only good but good for you. Naturally fermented, this sauerkraut is also good for your gut health.
- 1 medium head of cabbage
- 1 tbsp kosher or canning salt
- 1/4 c distilled water (optional
Save a couple of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage for later use. Slice the rest of the cabbage into small strips and place in a large bowl.
Add 1 tbsp. kosher or canning salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage with your hands, you may want to use food grade gloves for this task.
Use the back of a blunt wooden spoon, and pound out the cabbage until you see a brine forming.
Transfer the cabbage to a fermenting vessel and pound down the cabbage once more.
Once you have enough brine to cover all of the cabbage (you may need to add a small amount of distilled water to top it off) place the large cabbage leaves you saved earlier over the cabbage and submerge completely. Find a way to keep the cabbage completely submerged or else it may mold and ruin the batch. You can use a small glass or another weighted item.
Cover the crock with a loose lid and let stand for about 3 weeks. Be sure to check the liquid level about once per week, and top off with distilled water if needed to keep the cabbage fully submerged.