sauerkraut is raw, preserved in brine (salt water) over a long period
of time. It is not cooked or pressure canned. It is full of the living
microbes our digestive systems need to get the full benefit out of all
the food we eat.
large glass jars, as large as you can get or can handle. Fill with shredded raw cabbage,
chopped onions, sliced carrots
and chopped apples. You can also add chopped garlic, pumpkin seeds,
sesame seeds, caraway seed, mustard seed, pineapple, quince, pears,
daikon radish, bok choi, squash or any other fresh herb or vegetable
that you have.
make kimchi, use Chinese cabbage (bok choi), carrots, onions,
garlic, red peppers,
ginger, daikon (mouli) radish, chopped shrimp and anchovies.)
You may freeze and thaw the raw
vegetables for your kraut to make them easier to work with and ferment
faster, if you like.
Add salt water brine to the jar to cover the vegetables. Brine should
be in a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 pint of water.
can also add
some whey from kefir or yogurt,
to make it ferment quicker, or leftover sauerkraut juice from a
previous batch. Some people say this protects against a batch going
bad, others say that salt-only tastes better. I used added whey when I
first started making sauerkraut, but now use leftover sauerkraut juice
from a previous batch and salt only brine. I agree that the whey does
give it an off-taste. Your choice.
In summer or
very hot weather, you may wish to not use
an innoculant (whey or sauerkraut juice) at all and just add brine
(salt water) at a ratio of 1
teaspoon of salt per 1 pint of water, to slow down the rate of
fermentation in the heat. Some experienced sauerkraut makers prefer
using only brine all the time because they feel it gives it a better
salt-water/brine to cover.
Push the chopped vegetables down into the jar with a wooden stick or
Add more cabbage and other vegetables. How much depending on what ratio
of vegetable to liquid you want.
a large handful of leaves such as oak, maple, or leaves from
food plants. Wash the leaves and push them into jar.
The purpose of the leaves is to keep
the kraut under the water
level, which prevents it from forming mold. I use leaves, but
methods are: using a plastic bag filled with water, using a ceramic
plate with a weight on top, use a glass jar that fits snugly into the mouth of the kraut jar and fill it with water and putting a large cabbage leaf on top and
covering it with marbles or smooth, round stones.
with plastic and secure with sturdy rubber band (i.e., an airlock). Do not use biodegradable plastic.
Leave in a place that is room to warm room temperature. The top of the
refrigerator is often a good spot, but put it on a saucer of some kind
to catch any overflows.
fermentation begins, some of the water may foam out. After it has
stopped bubbling up, replace any brine that was lost and then re-secure
the jar at room temperature for about 4 weeks. (In moderate
temperatures I wrap the jars in plastic and leave outside so as not to
attract flies into the house.)
After 4 weeks, when you open the jar, the leaves at the top may be
covered in a harmless white mold called "kahm". You can throw the
leaves away or wash and re-use them, as you prefer, if they haven't become too soggy.
the kraut or kimchi into
smaller glass jars, if desired.
is no need to wash the empty jar if you are going to
re-use it to
make another batch of sauerkraut. The liquid and any vegetables
remaining in the jar will help start the next batch.
Things you can do with leftover
to make sourdough
bread, beet kvass or another batch of sauerkraut
Add to salad dressing with a little olive oil to extend the salad
Use it as a marinade to tenderize meat. Add salt, spices or garlic to
Put chopped vegetables in it, leave in fridge. Eat as snacks or add to crudité platter.
Put sliced onions in it and use wherever you would use a raw onion
Drink it plain or with lemon and salt after meals as a digestive aid.
Use it to make gazpacho (cold soup).
Mix it with tomato juice and drink.
Things you can do with leftover
Sauerkraut is best eaten raw, but if you should want to do something
else with it:
Fry pork chops or sausages in frying pan in bacon grease or lard. Add
some sliced apples to the pan and continue to cook. When meat is cooked
and ready to serve, add sauerkraut to pan and cook just long enough to
heat it up.
tomatoes make excellent pickles. Slice green tomatoes and put
them in a glass jar with some peeled garlic
cloves, thinly sliced onion and de-seeded red peppers, either sweet or
hot depending on your
preference, or red pepper flakes. Add some spices like mustard seed,
coriander or fennel seed if desired. Fill the jar with a spoonful of
culture starter* and salt brine and pack with leaves. Cover with an
airlock as above for sauerkraut. Let it sit for 5-6 days for crunchy
pickles or 4-5 weeks for soft.
*Culture starter is raw sauerkraut juice, kvass, whey or kombucha. Salt
brine is salt water in a ratio of 1 teaspoon of full-array salt to 1
pint of water.
(Green tomatoes can
also be ripened by wrapping them in newspaper and leaveing in a cool,
dark place undisturbed for a few months.)
Whey versus Vinegar Pickling
What is the difference between pickling with lacto-fermenting or brine
opposed to pickling with vinegar?
A: The process of vinegar pickling involves boiling the vinegar first
to kill the bacteria in it to avoid getting the mother forming in the
pickles, and then you usually have to boil or pressure cook the
vegetables, too, to prevent an off fermentation. Boiling vinegar kills
the bacteria in it. Vinegar pickling that also involves boiling the
vegetables to be pickled will render the food preserved but dead.
whey or brine preserves and creates live beneficial bacteria, also
known as "probiotics".
Sauerkraut Keep Without Refrigeration?
I use an
airlock (see above) and lacto-ferment my sauerkraut for a
month or more. When done this way, it forms a vacuum seal by itself
some time during the process. This appears to retard the mold because I
have opened jars where the water has evaporated below the vegetable
line without the kraut getting moldy. In fact, I think even the
mold/kahm at the top of the jar (I use tree leaves to hold down the
kraut) that forms at the beginning of the ferment is reduced. However,
once I open the jar the same kraut will rapidly become moldy unless
refrigerated. The longest I have kept a jar unopened is 7 weeks. So, in
my experience, jarred sauerkraut may be stored unopened as long as it
is sealed airtight.
jar of sauerkraut has been
fermenting for 2 months at temperatures
ranging between 50 - 80 degrees (F). The plastic cover on the top has
been pulled into the jar by vacuum pressure, creating an airtight seal.
There is no mold or spoilage anywhere in the jar, even though the water
level is below the top of the layer of vegetables. ------->
Increasing nutrient value of
"re-raw" cooked sauerkraut, transfer the kraut to a glass jar,
add some whey or pickle brine and mix in some sliced onions and/or
garlic. Cover and let it set for a few days on the counter at room
temperature to re-start the fermentation process.
Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods by Nancy
Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Enzymes for Health & Longevity by Dr.Edward Howell
Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home