Monday, February 15, 2010

Nutrition Monday ~ Ja, das ist Sauerkraut

First of all, that beautiful, green cabbage was the first one I've ever grown.  Never mind the holes.  Compare it to the lesser green organic store-bought one.  That makes me happy.

Sauerkraut.  I eat it.  I love it.  I make it.  I show you how.  Cabbage is in season right now.  This is a great way of storing it.  Here is the way this extremely nourishing condiment was traditionally prepared, lacto-fermented style.  This is a raw recipe that is chock full of enzymes that aid in digestion and the immune system.  Cabbage is an amazing superfood that provides a lot of vitamin C, fiber, and is rich in cancer-inhibiting elements.  Eating cabbage in the form of raw, lacto-fermented sauerkraut is probably the most nutrient dense way to prepare it, in my opinion.

But really, how often can one consume sauerkraut?  Well, after investing in making a quart-sized jar of it, you might be surprised by how many things it goes well with besides hot dogs and Rueben sandwiches.  We slap it on red meats, sandwiches, wraps, and even some pastas.  You do not sacrifice taste with this recipe, but actually gain quality of taste and nutrition.

You will need:
1 medium or 2 small cabbages, cored and shredded (I shredded mine in the ole' food processor)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (you might need to visit your local health food store to find these)
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey or an additional tablespoon sea salt (you'll get a better result with whey)

Toss your cabbage in a bowl and add the caraway seeds.  I had a 20-month-old helper who decided the seeds looked like fun to poke.  The scent might make you crave a Rueben sandwich.  Or rye bread.  Or both.  Excuse me while I wipe the drool; not from the 20-month-old...
Now add the sea salt.
And the whey.
You didn't know you were going to get in an arm workout in the process.  Surprise!  An added bonus!  Proverbs 31 arms!  Pound it all with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for 10 minutes.  Feel the burn.  It'll take longer if you have a 20-month-old helper to give you breaks.
Now stick it all in a quart-sized wide-mouthed jar and press it down really well until the juices cover the top.  I found that a ladle did the trick for this part.
There should be at least one inch above the cabbage and the top of the jar.
  Cover tightly and keep it at room temperature for about 3 days, then store it in the fridge.  You'll notice the flavor improves the longer it's been stored.  I wish more foods were like this...
There you have it.  Sauerkraut.  It is delicious.  Make it.  Try it.  Love it.  Your body will thank you.


  1. So I made my first batch of sauerkraut a little while ago but have yet to try it because I'm a little concerned about it. I did everything I was supposed to, and with help from my husband, made sure there was plenty of juice and room on top of the pounded-in cabbage. (I made three jars) The liquid kept rising throughout the fermenting period to the point of me worrying that the jars were going to explode. They didn't, however, but as soon as I put the jars into the fridge after a few days, the liquid disappeared. Is that normal? Also, in one of the jars, some of the cabbage pieces look a little brown. Could this mean some oxygen got into that one and ruined it? I haven't been able to find answers to these questions anywhere, so I'm hoping you can help me!! Thanks! LOVE your blog, p.s.!!

  2. Hmmm... I've never had that happen. From what I've read in Nourishing Traditions, it says to let your nose be your guide. If you open it and it smells off, discard it. She says you will know when sauerkraut goes bad by it's horrible smell. I wish I had more words of wisdom on this one... I'll do a little research, too.

  3. If you add the extra salt instead of whey, do you also add liquid with it?

  4. No, there's usually enough liquid from the cabbage.

  5. I really want to make this. Where do you get your whey and how do you store it (the whey, that is)? :)

  6. I made it. You can also substitute another tablespoon of salt for the whey, I'm not actually sure where to buy it.

  7. I know this comment if probably years too late.... buuuuuut. hmmm. I make Kefir, so does that mean I have whey? I'd appreciate any advice on whey. Thanks :)

  8. oh, and on another note... this Sauerkraut looks so yummy, that's why I want to know about whey. I bought some delish raw kraut from Holiday a couple weeks ago and it totally made me want to figure out how to make it. It's such a yummy side. thanks I love your blog.

  9. If you pour the kefir trough a couple layers of cheesecloth and let it drain for a couple days, what drains down is the whey and the clumps at the top can be formed into kefir cheese balls! Here's how:

  10. When the sauerkraut is finished will it look green or look white/clear like the store bought kind?


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