Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free
YIELDS: 12 servings
- One head organic red cabbage
- Two heads organic green cabbage
- 2-3 organic carrots
- 3-5 Tbsp Celtic sea salt or other natural sea salt
- 1 Tbsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 1 Tbsp juniper berries (optional)
- 3-4 quart-sized jars with tight lids
Thinly slice all of the cabbage, discarding the cores, and shred the carrots. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with 3-4 Tbsp of sea salt.
Stir well and then, with clean hands, massage the salt into the cabbage, spreading it around and crushing the cabbage a bit in the process. Taste—the vegetables should be pretty salty, like the ocean or potato chips. If needed, add more salt.
With the end of a wooden mallet or potato masher, pound the vegetable mix for 5-10 minutes, to bruise the cabbage and release juices. Stir in the optional spices.
If not in a rush, let the vegetables sit for 1-2 hours (or move on to the next step now).
Pack the vegetables into the jars, pressing down with fingers or a spoon to force out as much air as possible. Leave at least one inch of room at the top of the jars.
If not enough liquid comes up in the jar to submerge the vegetables, add more brine. Make brine by adding 1 Tbsp sea salt to 1 quart of water. Slowly pour the brine into the jars until the air pockets are filled and liquid just covers the vegetables.
Screw on jar lids firmly and place the jars on the counter top, covered with a kitchen towel, for 5 to 10 days. The salt will prevent spoilage, and the probiotic lactobacilli naturally found on the cabbage leaves will multiply and start to break down the sugars in the vegetables, releasing tangy lactic acid, nutrients and gas in the process.
Every day, take a fork or spoon and press the ingredients in the jars back under the brine, releasing the fermentation gas, then replace the lids. It usually takes about one week in a 68-degree room for sauerkraut to ferment well. When it is nearly finished it should be producing less gas, be a pinkish color, and taste tangy, fresh and delicious. (If it smells or tastes yeasty or spoiled, discard and try a new batch with more salt.)
Eat as a nutritious, probiotic condiment or snack, and save any leftover sauerkraut juice to drink as an aid for indigestion.
Submitted by Grace Rollins of Bridge Acupuncture. January 2015.