By CRISTINA AFRICANO | Local Culture Live Ferments
Sauerkraut is simple. All you need is cabbage and salt. The leaves of cabbage naturally carry lactobacillus — a beneficial bacteria that is our probiotic friend. Pounding or massaging together leaves of fresh cabbage with doses of salt creates a liquid brine that is a suitable environment for lactobacillus to thrive in. The brine wards off harmful bacteria. Creating sauerkraut is a magical process of wild fermentation. We at Local Culture strongly believe that the foundation of health, vitality, and well-being starts with our gut health. So eat your daily ferments, and keep that gut happy!
1 lb Organic Green Cabbage
9 grams or 2 tsp sea salt
Note: Use a 1.5 to 2.5 percent salt ratio to your liking. If you want to add ingredients like caraway seeds, juniper berries, or apples, just add up the total weight of all ingredients and calculate your chosen salt percentage. Experiment. The sky is the limit.
Shred cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the pieces with portions of salt as you go. If you can, let the cabbage sit in the salt for 20 minutes. That will make the brine form more easily. Then, massage the salted cabbage until a brine begins to form. Pack the salted cabbage into clean, quart (or bigger) mason jars, packing tightly so that the cabbage is submerged completely in the liquid brine. The trick to making sauerkraut is to keep the cabbage submerged in the liquid brine throughout the fermentation process. Cabbage ferments best in a low oxygen environment beneath the brine, where mold and other bacteria don’t grow.
To keep the cabbage submerged, you can buy fermentation weights or try this DIY option: Weigh down the cabbage with a half-pint closed mason jar full of water.
Make sure your weight is effective throughout the process. This assures a sterile environment for the lactobacillius to thrive in. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do.
Cover your kraut jar and weight with a kitchen towel to help keep it a little more sanitized. Set aside, and enjoy in two to four weeks. Once the kraut is ready, remove the half-pint jar weight, put a lid on the kraut jar, stick it in the fridge, and eat up. Sauerkraut is incredibly stable while under the brine. It can last for many months (some say years) in the fridge when submerged under the brine.