Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is one of those foods I instinctually hated as a child. It smelled weird. It smelled awful. I don’t believe I ever ate it, much less tasted it, until I was an adult – and what creation crossed my palate was of the mass-produced, unfermented variety that accompanies mustard and onions atop an all-beef hot dog.

True sauerkraut, with depth of flavor and delightful texture, was something I never had until I made it myself. Initially I made it because of the health benefits of lactofermented foods, and the health benefits of cabbage itself; I keep making it, week after week, because I absolutely LOVE it.

 Here is how I make our weekly lactofermented sauerkraut:

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup whey (I collect mine from active yogurt)
Method:
  1. Combine the sliced cabbage, salt, and whey in a large bowl, and toss and mix with your hands.
  2. Pound the cabbage mixture with a wooden mallet, meat mallet, or even using your bare hands, for approximately ten minutes, kneading it thoroughly to break up the structure of the cabbage, encouraging it to release its natural juices.
  3. Place the cabbage in a half-gallon glass jar, two quart-sized mason jars, or a sauerkraut crock, and press down firmly on the cabbage with your hands or the meat mallet so that the cabbage remains below the liquid. (It is important that the bulk remains below the liquid – this creates a protective barrier that prevents molding.)
  4. Cover the jar tightly and store at room temperature for 3 days before transferring to the refrigerator. (or eating!)

We love our sauerkraut cooked in butter, with locally made pork bratwurst… Nom nom nom!

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