Sauerkraut has been used for thousands of years. Traditional cultures knew of its benefits for the digestive system. Sailors kept it on ships to ward off scurvy, which is a painful and sometimes fatal vitamin C deficiency disease.
Lactobacilli are the bacteria that live on everything. They help the fermenting process along, breaking down parts of the plant material to make it more digestible for us. This fermenting process also increases the availability of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.
Here’s what you need:
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey
I get the whey from making yogurt cheese. To do that you just put whole yogurt in a cheesecloth lined strainer over a bowl and let it set overnight. The liquid off this is the whey, which you can use to lacto-ferment any vegetable you want.
How to make the Kraut:
I chop the cabbage in fine shredded pieces and put into a bowl. Sprinkle the salt and whey over the cabbage and mix thoroughly. Take something to pound with like a meat hammer, and pound the cabbage. Stir every few minutes and continue pounding for about 10 minutes. This releases the cabbage juices that will mix with the salt and whey.
Spoon some of the cabbage into the jar, and tamp down, add some more and tamp again. Repeat the process until there is about 1 inch of headroom at the top of the jar. Make sure the liquid covers the cabbage. If you need more liquid, just add a bit of filtered water. Cap tightly and set on your kitchen counter for about 2-3 days. Transfer to the refrigerator where it will continue fermenting, but at a slower pace.
To retain all of its health benefits, sauerkraut should not be cooked or heated since heat destroys vitamin C. You can enjoy this delicious condiment on top of hot dogs, chili dogs, stews, bean dishes or just about any meal. For added benefits drink the liquid from the sauerkraut, it makes a nutrient dense and delicious juice.
©2009 Shanna Ohmes