It's a food word many people cringe upon hearing or their mouth starts watering. Which one are you? I have to admit I didn't enjoy sauerkraut until I was in my 20's. My German grandmother had a garden packed full of cabbage, rows upon rows while us grandchildren were growing up. You should have seen her cellar. It would make our eyes bulge out - that woman was incredible! She was a hearty, Jesus-believing woman! Taking a different turn on sauerkraut, I decided to follow the Nourishing Traditions way of fermenting foods- on the counter and let it bubble up and create that good bacteria we all so desperately need in our guts. Here is more information on that way of living - it sure is eye opening.
Here is my version of countertop sauerkraut, simple as can be!
-One or two heads of green/purple cabbage
-3-6 Tablespoons of salt (the good pink kind, or sea salt)
-Optional: cloves of garlic
Have a big bowl ready.
Cut out the core of the cabbage, and toss to your chickens or rabbit. Then cut the cabbage roughly in small pieces or shred in your food processor. I prefer cutting because I like the big chunks. Your preference!
Place the cabbage in the bowl with at least 3T salt and massage for up to 5 minutes.
Gather your wide mouthed glass jars, sizes can be half gallon or gallon or quart. Shove the cabbage inside jars and press down firmly as you go, packing it in the jar good and full.
Top the jars with water and most likely a Tablespoon more of salt. And if you like, a couple garlic cloves per jar.
Cover with a towel and rubberband and let sit on the counter for 4-7 days. Depending on your weather, my sauerkraut tends to turn and ferment a lot quicker in the summer days than it does come December here in Minnesota. That is why I recommend tasting the cabbage daily, checking for needed salt. The salt is what ferments the cabbage making it sauerkraut! Noticing the bubbles on the sides of the jar? That means it's doing it's thing! When you like the taste of your sauerkraut, put a lid on it and place it in the fridge. It will stop the fermentation when it's placed in the fridge. It has a very long fridge shelf-life. My family will devour the jars in a matter of weeks. But if you forget about it or if you only take a little at a time, it will stay great tasting for you.
*Tips: Check daily for the cabbage to pop out of the water near the lid. Push it back down or add more water, the cabbage exposed to the air will get a hint of mold on it or a weird color. Toss it away if it scares you and just push the rest down. The cabbage will start to settle and wilt soon, making it fit better in the jar.
Taste as you go! Does it need more salt? Does it need to wilt a little more for your taste? Or do you like a crunch like me?
How DO I eat it?
Place on top of a lot of dishes, including your salads. Beef stew, baked potato, or simply eat it all by itself. My 8 year old boy prefers it that way. And I couldn't be happier! Eat some when you have a salty craving - it does the trick!
Tell me, have you eaten sauerkraut before?