I never ate sauerkraut growing up as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED hot dogs, but the only condiment I allowed to touch my dog was bright yellow in color. I didn’t even want ketchup joining in the party. Unfortunately, I may have been missing out on some key digestive juices (literally).
This is a prime example of the importance of choosing quality over quantity. A tub of Vlassic sauerkraut isn’t the same as the homemade variety. Unless you put polysorbate 80 and sodium metabisulfite in your food of course, like Vlassic does. Plus, it’s more expensive and its been pasteurized, destroying all the valuable enzymes in the process. So, make your own. It’s cheap, easy, and kinda fun!
Sauerkraut starts out as cabbage and is transformed into the pungent probiotic through the fermentation process. The friendly bacteria that are created during this process aid in digestion, increase vitamin levels, produce a variety of beneficial enzymes, and promote the growth of healthy flora in the digestive tract. Basically, if you want solid digestion, eat homemade sauerkraut on the regular.
In addition to its wonderful gut-healing properties, sauerkraut is also a good source of vitamin C (as long as its not pasteurized; vitamin C is destroyed by heat) and may even contain cancer-fighting, immune system-boosting compounds.
If that’s not enough, raw cabbage juice (NOT sauerkraut) has been shown to be an effective treatment for peptic ulcers. Drinking this juice daily can clear up an ulcer in under two weeks!
Making Sauerkraut makes roughly a quart
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 2 Tbs. sea salt
- Shred the cabbage and place in a large bowl or pot. Sprinkle the salt over the cabbage.
- Crush the mixture with your hands until the liquid comes freely out of the cabbage.
- Place a plate on top of the cabbage, then a weight on top of the plate. I use a mason jar filled with water.
- Cover the bowl with a cloth towel and leave out, unrefrigerated, on your kitchen counter. Check after 2 days and scoop off any scum that may develop, repack and check again every 3 days.
- The sauerkraut should be freshly fermented and ready to go in about 2 weeks, with its flavors maturing as it ages. Like wine, another one of my favorite things.
- Put sauerkraut, with its juices, in an air-tight container in refrigerator. It will keep for up to 6 months.
Now doesn’t that sound ridiculously easy?! There really are few things easier. If you decide to try it out, please comment in the box below and let me know how it went!
Additional Ingredient Suggestions
Follow the above recipe, then add with the salt:
- 3 cloves of chopped garlic and a sliced onion
- 1-2 sliced poblano peppers
- 5 chopped Brussels sprouts
- Handful of seaweed or any other vegetable
I like to take bites straight from the container, 5-10 minutes before a meal, in order to get my digestive juices flowing, so to speak. Of course, you can eat it with sausages and in reuben sandwiches, but cooking it will destroy the enzymes you worked so hard to create/ferment. The point is, use your probiotic-loaded kraut in a variety of ways- eaten cold for its nutritional status and eaten warm for its ideal accompaniment to certain dishes.