How to Make Home Made Probiotic-Rich Sauerkraut
I learned how to make Sauerkraut before I learned how to make Kombucha. I love them both and I'm going to tell you how I make this wonderful probiotic-packed food. Once you learn, you will never go back to canned or store-bought. By the way, store bought sauerkraut loses alot of it's nutritional benefits in processing. When you make your own the correct way, you will get the most health benefits. Ok, here we go.
This recipe will make about two large jars, let's say around 4 cups or so.
Step 1: Buy or pick your Cabbage. You will need 2 - 3 heads depending on how much you want and if you have enough jars to ferment it in.
Step 2: Get your glass jars. You can use one gallon-sized jar or about 3 smaller jars. Make sure they are washed with soap and water or in the dish washer in hot temperatures to sterilize them.
Step 3: Wash your hands very well and rinse in warm water. You will be sticking your hands in the cabbage. Rinse your cabbage and peel off the first couple layers of leaves. Throw away the leaves that look dirty but set aside several large, sturdy looking leaves for as many jars as you will be using and some extra.
Step 4: Now that you've set aside your large outer leaves, start cutting up your cabbage into little chunks. You can dice or cut larger chunks or strips if you prefer. Chop up the entire two cabbages. As you are doing this, make sure you have a large, clean bowl to put your chopped cabbage in.
Step 5: After everything's chopped up and you have your cabbage in your large bowl, pour or sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of Sea Salt on the chopped cabbage. Let sit for about ten minutes.
Step 6: Now, make sure your hands are still clean. If not, wash them again. Next, dig into the bowl with your hands and mix the sea salt and cabbage together. Squeeze and massage that cabbage! Do this for a good ten minutes. The salt will draw the water out of the cabbage. You will start to see that it is becoming a wet mess. This is good!
Step 7: Now place your big bowl of cabbage next to the jars you will be using. Take handfuls of cabbage and ring the water out and place into your jar. ***STOP****Important to NOTE! .... Don't dump out your salty cabbage water. That 's your brine. Ok, ......As you are filling up the jar, take your balled up fist and tamp down the cabbage into the jar and try to get as much air out as possible. I've found that a potato masher works really well in doing the tamping down. Try to find a masher that will fit into the mouth of your jar and still have a little extra room. Keep putting cabbage in the jar or jars until there is about an inch or two of space at the top.
Step 8: Now, pour your brine (salty water in the bowl) into your jars. There may be a few loose little cabbage pieces wanting to float to the top. That's fine because now....
Step 9: Take your big cabbage leaf and place on top of your cut up cabbage in your jar. This will hold down any loose pieces that want to float on the top. It's ok to hold the leaf down below the water. You always want the cabbage, even the top leaf to be under water at all times.
Notes: If you do not have enough brine from your bowl to cover all the cabbage, (you probably won't), mix about a quart of distilled water with Sea Salt. Make sure it disolves. Then pour over the cabbage.
When everything looks good and all the cabbage is underneath the brine, you are ready to put the lid on and store in a dark cabinet or on a shelf with a towel over it to keep the light out. This will ferment for anywhere from 2-4 weeks. You can open the lid and check on it every day or everyother day to be sure the cabbage is still under water. If it's not, push it back down, add more brine and store in dark place again.
Let's say it's been two or three weeks and you want to test to see if it's done. Just take it out, remove the top leaf and take a taste. If it tastes like sauerkraut, then it's done. You did it! If it needs more time , then stick it back and check every day or so until it tastes good.
A FEW IMPORTANT NOTES:
The salt should keep away any bad bacteria and mold but there is a chance that mold could grow on the top. Just be watchful. If it's green or blue and fuzzy, throw it out. Chances are there won't be any problems.
Instead of using cabbage leaves you can get the glass weights to hold down the cabbage. Either one works great.
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