Tag Archives: cabbage

Fourth Times A Charm!

YAY! So this was actually my fourth attempt at making Sauerkraut (the REAL thing, not this crappy “grab a bag of pre-shredded cabbage, dump it in a jar and pour vinegar into it” horrible excuse for the real thing stuff). You know… lactofermented so it’s actually healthy and full of probiotics. My first time making some last summer was an absolute fluke; it turned out great, albeit a tad too salty. I use both green AND red cabbage so I get the nutrients and benefits of both cabbages instead of favoring one over the other so it comes out looking purple (color matters not when it tastes great and is good for you)! Using a head of both yields enough Sauerkraut to last about 3 months and costs all of $5 versus a jar of the only brand I’ve found that is actual SAUERKRAUT and not vinegar soaked cabbage that lasts a week at best and runs $7! No brainer! My second time, I think I managed to get hold of old cabbage (although it could be because I tried a different method…it molded literally overnight and put out no juice…bummer). Last batch turned out good, just not as salty as it should be and not as tangy as a perfectly fermented batch should be, but still good. But this time? Living in northwest Florida and the weather being pretty darn mild for this time of year,  it took 8 days from packing the cabbage to lactofermented Sauerkraut perfection. I’m. So. Happy!

When I checked on it Monday morning, it had that “tangy” smell to it which is indicative of the cabbage properly fermenting (believe me, you learn fast when you’ve bought some and know what it smells and tastes like when your own has gotten to that point) and since I didn’t have quite the room in the fridge at that moment, I decided to wait until yesterday morning which would work great…the fermenting “bubbles” came up in a frenzy Monday! Yippee! So press, press, press…got those bubbles going and made sure it was good and submerged in the juices.

So I went to get it to put into a couple of smaller jars that would fit in the fridge yesterday morning and the smell? Awesome! Great tangy/sour smell that is so very Sauerkraut! Then trying to pack it into the 2 jars that I used, some fell out on the counter so I tasted it. O.M.G. Bubbie’s has NOTHING on this batch of homemade Sauerkraut!  I so wish I could share it with y’all. I’m really happy and feeling quite accomplished at how well it turned out! Look at these beauties…..

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I don’t always like just getting a spoonful out and eating it straight. Usually, I get a couple of heaping tablespoons to 1/3 a cup of Sauerkraut and top my meat with it. Now, I top my chicken with it and whenever I eat beef (which my taste buds are changing…again…beef just doesn’t taste as good to me anymore, not even steaks), but it only took ONCE to discover it does NOT go well with fish! Well, this batch is solo worthy. I feel humbled because even though it is not hard to make, making it really is an art and the taste can vary a little from batch to batch depending on different factors…the freshness of the cabbage, how much salt and quality of salt (NEVER use iodized table salt; even in health magazines, they recommend using some sort of sea salt like Himalayan pink, Kiawe smoked, black sea salt from Hawai’i, etc…), how well you scrunch/rub the salt into the cabbage to release juices, or any extras you add like Caraway seeds like some recipes do. Mine is straight green and red cabbage with Himalayan pink salt and a little filtered water with extra salt on days 2 for brine when it is short on liquid to submerge.

Seriously, go back and check out the recipe. See how easy it is. Make a batch. It is especially great for helping you recuperate when you’re sick. Check out the links on THIS page and see just how good for you it is and the benefits it offers. And if you need something for the flu or an upper respiratory infection (or even a queasy stomach), try the ginger tea from THIS POST. I swear, ginger & honey are miracles for sore throats, coughing and congestion!

Hope you try some and let me know how it turns out and how you like it! Love you guys!

*Want some good reading material? Check out Heroes of Olympus (Rick Riordan), The Dresden Files (Fool Moon) by Jim Butcher or The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. I just finished reading Fool Moon and doing a rush job of Evermore (The Immortals) by Alyson Noel. It’s okay, but it is nothing like The Dresden Files and I’m dying to get started on The Kingkiller Chronicle. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

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Excellent novel on Greek & Roman mythology! Five stars!
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The Dresden Files are just amazing. This is also a five-star book.
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Eh, I feel like I’m reading a version of Twilight. Not a bad book, but not impressed. Three stars.
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I am so looking forward to starting this one either later today or tomorrow. The summary sounds so good!

What’s So Special About Sauerkraut?

I don’t know about you, but I grew up on southern food which included coffee so strong it would “make you grow chest hair” (as my daddy put it), buttermilk biscuits (YUM!), fried foods like chicken, and desserts like Coconut Cake, Coconut Cream Pie and Lemon Meringue Pie. Oh, and that’s not all. Summer time meant ice cream, ice pops and snowcones, and getting not only a Bismark doughnut to munch on in the grocery store to keep me quiet while my mama shopped (like a white glazed doughnut with a thick cream down the center…looked a bit like a hotdog bun only MUCH tastier!), but candy at the checkout. The holidays brought all kinds of yummy baked goods like Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato Pie (my favorite), Divinity Candy, Fudge, cookies, cakes and brownies GALORE. I didn’t much care for vegetables growing up and wasn’t forced to eat them, although I DID have to at least try them before deciding not to eat them. Oh, I can’t forget the most important thing to us southerners: SWEET ICED TEA! And I’m not talking about tea sweetened with enough sugar to make it taste delicious, it was basically tea flavored sugar water! Times haven’t changed, either. Although now when you go to a restaurant or buy tea premade in the grocery store, you’re buying tea that is sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which has very recently been changed to just Fructose, or Fructose Syrup. Unless you read and do your research, you may think “hey, doesn’t fructose come from fruit?” Yes, and this is Big Ag’s way of fooling the public while continuing to poison us. Always be on your guard!

In that vein, there ARE ways you can counteract these foods. First of all, STOP EATING PROCESSED FOODS! If it has more than 3 ingredients (actually, should eat whole food that is just ONE ingredient), particularly ingredients you can’t pronounce, then DON’T EAT IT. Secondly, fermented foods. Preferably homemade fermented foods. When you buy fermented food at the store, it is ALWAYS pasteurized. Yogurt is pasteurized (and I have a hard time eating pasteurized food…always wind up with severe gastrointestinal pain), Kefir is pasteurized and pickles (if you can even find some that are actually lacto-fermented in the refrigerated section…the ones on the store shelf are made with vinegar, thus NOT fermented and offer no real health benefits) are pasteurized. Even the best sauerkraut in the refrigerated section with just cabbage and sea salt says it is lightly pasteurized.

There are plenty of sites that talk about the benefits of probiotics from fermented foods and there are lots of recipes to be had. I started out eating Bubbie’s Sauerkraut which was actually very good considering I had always been offput with just the smell of the stuff growing up. But as the container is on the small side and cost $7, I was determined to find a way to get fresh sauerkraut that didn’t break the bank. Guess what? You can buy cabbage (I buy both green and red…and according to EWG as posted here, cabbage is part of the “Clean 15”) for about $5 for 2 heads which last 2 to 3 months compared to a week or two! Cabbage is naturally resilient to bugs and the outer leaves are able to shield it from most toxic sprays. When consuming cabbage, make sure to remove and discard these outer leaves.

Okay, I’ll stop yapping and share my recipe. It’s a mix of red and green cabbage as they both have their own nutritional benefits! They share some of the same, but also very different ones. Dr. Mercola had his sauerkraut sent to a lab to test for probiotics and the results were astounding! “We found in a 4-6 ounce serving of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 ounce of sauerkraut is equal to 8 bottles of probiotics.” (via Nourishing Plot). After the recipe, I’ll post some links to read that list health benefits as well as nutrition information.

Homemade Sauerkraut

Beginning with a head of Red cabbage and a head of Green, remove and discard the outer leaves and rinse the cabbage and set aside to dry. Cut in half, then remove the core.
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Thinly slice and add an inch or 2 layer of cabbage at a time, adding salt (and Caraway seeds if you like) after each layer, scrunching well to release water (make it sweat!). Keep doing this until all the cabbage is used.

*Always make sure to use either a clean, sterilized glass bowl, ceramic, stone or stainless steel bowl.

After washing a large mason jar, ceramic or stone jar, sterilize by pouring boiling hot water into jar and lid and rinsing well, put in warm oven for a few minutes (I’ve read in places that this is how some people sterilize their jars) or wash in dishwasher and run through sterilizing heat cycle. Once clean and sterilized, add the cabbage in handfuls to the jar, pressing down to help release juices and cover with a saved leaf or 2 (not the outermost leaves, but a couple 2 to 3 layers down in the cabbage), then cover either with a towel, cheesecloth, or lid loosely fit on. Set in a dark place where the temperature is stable and not cold. How long it takes to ferment depends on how warm or cold it is. If it is warm, it will ferment and be ready to be refrigerated in about 5 days or so, perhaps less, but my experience is 5 days in the summer, and a good week or more in the winter. Sauerkraut has a tangy smell and taste which you will recognize once it is properly fermented. It’s really a no-brainer!

*ALWAYS make sure your hands are CLEAN before you begin and wash only with non-antibacterial soap and water and dry with paper towel. You sure don’t want to add any bad bacteria to the cabbage!

Tomorrow, we will check on the cabbage to see how it is doing. You need to “burp” it daily (releasing air bubbles) by getting a jar or plate (whatever fits in your container) and press down. On the first day, check to see if it has released enough liquid to submerge it. It most likely will have juice, just not enough to cover it. If that is the case, mix up 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt per 1 cup of filtered water and add till the cabbage is covered.

Links to check into:

Sauerkraut is the Original Probiotic Superfood

Sauerkraut Test Divulges Shocking Probiotic Count

Sauerkraut Offers A Spectrum of Health Benefits

Tips for Fermenting At Home