If you like cabbage and want better gut health, you’re in luck. Sauerkraut is not only tasty, and very inexpensive, but it also works as a great probiotic. Like other fermented foods, it can boost your intestinal flora by adding it to your diet.
I was surprised to see how easy it is to make a batch of sauerkraut. And, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for months. If you’re not the biggest fan of sauerkraut yet, the benefits of adding fermented foods could possibly change your mind.
And, all you need is the following to make a quart of sauerkraut:
- 1 small head cabbage
- 2-3 tablespoons Himalayan salt (or 3 tablespoons per 5 pounds of cabbage)
- 1 quart canning jar
The recipe I’m sharing calls for Himalayan salt. But, you can use whatever salt you prefer. Years ago, Pink Himalayan salt wasn’t trending. So, you would have had to travel to the caves to find it. Fortunately, most grocery stores carry it now, making it easy to find. I opted to use it, because it’s thought of as a cleaner salt. Also, many claim that it’s healthier for the digestive system due to its mineral-rich traits.
The Benefits of Fermented Foods
The use of probiotics is on the rise. You don’t have to search in health food stores for supplements anymore. They are everywhere. However, they are quite expensive! So, many people are sticking with, or turning to fermented foods.
Fermented foods are created through a process of lacto-fermentation. This is when the natural bacteria feeds on the starch and sugar of the food that is creating the lactic acid. And here is why these foods are so healthy and beneficial to us:
- Preserve and create B-vitamins, beneficial enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a variety of probiotics
- Vitamin K2 (found in some fermented foods) aids in preventing plaque buildup in the arteries
- Boost the immune system and improve digestive health
- Detoxify the body by drawing out some heavy metals and toxins.
Along with the above benefits, it’s also far less expensive than probiotic supplements and more proficient, especially if you make your own.
So, why not make your own probiotic with an easy batch of homemade sauerkraut?
Making Sauerkraut For An Effective Probiotic
This recipe is really easy and I believe everyone should give it a try. These are the steps that need to be followed:
#1. Slice the cabbage into about 8 sections, discarding the core.
#2. Either shred the cabbage with a food processor or grater, or cut into thin ribbons with a knife.
#3. Place the shredded cabbage into a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle salt over the top.
#4. Start kneading the salt into the cabbage by squeezing and mixing with your hands. If it’s not beginning to wilt or generate water, add more salt. Do this for approximately 4 minutes, then let it sit for another 10 minutes. Now is the time to add other seasonings if you want, such as black pepper, caraway seeds, or garlic.
#5. Start packing the wilted cabbage into a canning jar. I used a small cabbage, and a quart jar was a perfect fit. Push the cabbage down with a spoon as you go along. Pour any leftover water from the bowl into the jar. Make sure the cabbage is submerged in liquid. If it’s not, add a little salt water to make sure the liquid is covering the cabbage.
#6. Place the lid on the jar and let it sit in a room where the temperature is between 65°and 75° F.
Over the next 24 hours, open the jar and press the cabbage down occasionally, and add extra liquid if necessary. The fermentation process should take about 10-14 days, but check on it daily to make sure the cabbage is fully submerged. You may notice some foam or bubbles during this time, but that is normal. And a good sign that it’s working. But, if you see mold, make sure to take it out and discard it.
Start tasting it after 10 days. When it tastes good to you, place it in the refrigerator. It should last for about 6 months when refrigerated.
If you don’t eat too many fermented foods, then start adding this to your diet slowly. Start with a tablespoon of fermented foods a day, and gradually increase it until you are up to ¼ to ½ cup a day. Perhaps you don’t want to eat sauerkraut every day. No problem. Just mix it up with other fermented vegetables on the days you want a break from sauerkraut.
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