Special Diet - Created Date : 6.10.2019
How To Make Super-Nutritious Sauerkraut Every Time
Discover many important sauerkraut benefits and a step-by-step tutorial with beautiful photos showing how to make sauerkraut and restore gut health. You’re going to love this sauerkraut. There’s nothing like the taste of homemade.
Today, I’m excited to share a step-by-step tutorial for making your own super-nutritious sauerkraut. John and I have been having fun making sauerkraut at home. First, let’s look at why homemade sauerkraut is such an important food to add to your diet.
Recently, on the blog, we discussed the importance of keeping our gut microbiota healthy and happy. Those tens of trillions of beneficial microorganisms living in our gut provide us with significant health benefits that only they can supply. We need them, but they also need us. All they ask for is to be treated kindly.
Often things such as psychological stress, antibiotics, or our modern American diet can severely damage the normal balance of our microbiota. This is called intestinal dysbiosis, and when it happens our health will suffer.
If the balance of our microbiota has become disrupted, we can help restore it. One of the primary ways of doing this is by introducing probiotics into your system. Probiotics are live beneficial microorganisms, primarily bacteria. You can do this by taking commercially prepared probiotics. However, they can become quite expensive especially if your whole family needs to take them.
We have found that one of the best ways to get probiotics into our systems is through fermented foods. This is how our ancestors got probiotics. John recently wrote about the enormous probiotic content of homemade 24-hour probiotic yogurt. For the recipe, see here. It contains as much or more than the most potent commercially made probiotic.
Another one of those fermented foods, easily made at home and packed with probiotics, is fermented cabbage or what is commonly known as sauerkraut.
Fermented Cabbage Is Packed With Beneficial Organisms
When shredded cabbage is combined with salt and placed in an airtight jar, the lactic acid bacteria naturally present on the cabbage leaves starts fermenting the sugar contained in the cabbage.
Within two to three days of fermentation, there is a rapid turnover of different species of lactic acid bacteria, which go from the less acid tolerant to the more acid tolerant species. The process is usually completed after three weeks.
It is estimated that the concentrations of lactic acid bacteria in sauerkraut reach at least 1 billion colony forming units (CFU) per gram. The actual numbers of probiotics in sauerkraut are difficult to determine because of the variables in the fermenting process.
It has been traditionally thought sauerkraut contains four species of lactic acid bacteria: Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus pentosaceus, and Lactobacillus brevis. However, current research has suggested that even more species of probiotics are present. See here. This is significant because for some people the diversity of species is more important than the CFU’s of a specific species.
Because of the lactic acid bacteria, sauerkraut has a long shelf life. It’s the lactic acid the bacteria produces that gives sauerkraut its distinctive sour taste.
How to make sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is extremely easy to make. The only ingredients you’ll need are cabbage and some finely ground sea salt (table salt has anti-caking agents and additives that could turn your brine cloudy).
The equipment you’ll need is a little more complicated, but not much. I use Culture for Health’s Fermented Vegetable Master that comes with a one-gallon jar, an airlock and lid, ceramic fermentation weight, and an extra solid lid for storage after fermentation is complete. We’ve been using it for about a year, and it’s worked perfectly every time.
To shred the cabbage, we use this mandoline. It’s great for cutting the cabbage into nice thin strands. A smaller mandoline is not suitable for cutting cabbage.
After the cabbage is shredded, you’ll need a couple of bowls where the cabbage can be massaged and pounded. Once the cabbage has produced enough brine you can pack your cabbage into the fermenting jar and you’re good to go. In three weeks, you’ll have great tasting sauerkraut.
For variety, you can add shredded carrots, caraway seeds or dill seeds. Whatever you like.
Here’s a closer look at how to make super-nutritious sauerkraut every time.
Step 1. Prepare a clean workspace in the kitchen to make your sauerkraut
It’s best to start with a clean environment. Wash and dry your jar of any soap residue. Be sure your hands are clean too because you’ll be using them to massage salt into the cabbage. (You don’t want to introduce any harmful bacteria to your fermentation.)
Step 2. Cut each cabbage into quarters, remove each core, and shred cabbage
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Set aside a few large leaves to be used later. Cut off the stems of each cabbage, cut into quarters, and cut out each core. We shred our cabbage on a large mandoline at the lowest setting because we want thin strands.
Step 3. Adding salt
Salt is needed to pull water out of the cabbage to produce brine. This is where the good bacteria live and grow. The ratio of cabbage to salt is five pounds of cabbage to three tablespoons of salt. As the cabbage is shredded, begin to place the shredded pieces in a bowl.
After each one-quarter of each head of cabbage is shredded, sprinkle some salt on it. This will allow the salt to work on the cabbage as you continue shredding more cabbage. Just remember that you’ll need to have enough salt for the whole process.
Step 4. Massage Sea Salt Into Cabbage
Once all the cabbage is shredded, you’ll massage the salt into the cabbage in order to get the cabbage to release water. When your hands get tired (and they will), then mash it with your pounder (we use our Vitamix tamper). Keep massaging until the volume of the cabbage is reduced by about half or more. There should be quite a bit of brine in the bowl. This takes about 30 minutes.
Step 5. Pack cabbage with brine into fermentation jar
Pack the cabbage with its liquid brine, a few handfuls at a time, into your one-gallon fermentation jar. Reach in with your hand and pack the cabbage down releasing any air pockets. Pack it really well!!! This is important. The brine should rise to about one inch over your cabbage.
If your cabbage doesn’t produce enough brine, you can make your own and add it to the cabbage. To make more brine, mix together 4 cups of filtered water with 1½ tablespoons of sea salt. We do this often and there doesn’t seem to be a problem with taste. Remember the brine should be about one inch over the cabbage.
Step 5. Cover cabbage and top with weights
Remember some of the cabbage leaves we kept in the beginning? We are now going to cover the shredded cabbage with those. Then cover the cabbage with the ceramic weights, attempting to keep the cabbage from floating out of the brine.
Step 6. Cover with airlock top
Moisten airlock, place into the lid, and cover your jar. The idea is to prevent oxygen from getting in, but still allowing the cabbage to breathe. As gasses are generated from the fermentation, oxygen flushes from the container so that eventually the container simply contains the gasses produced by the fermentation. Fill the airlock halfway (to the line) with filtered water and put the cap on.
Step 7. Allow sauerkraut to ferment for three weeks
Keep the jar of sauerkraut away from direct sunlight (as sunlight can de-activate the vitamin C) in a cool room. For us, that is our basement. After a few days, the liquid brine starts to bubble. The fermentation has begun!
The brine may start to rise to the top of the jar. Be careful here! The first time we made sauerkraut, the liquid brine rose to the top of the jar almost into the airlock. We had to open the jar and remove some of the brine. The cabbage still came out perfect, but this is something you want to avoid.
Fermenting sauerkraut is actually very forgiving. As concerned as we were, we got a delicious sauerkraut on our very first attempt. Follow these easy steps and you’re sure to make super-nutritious, super-delicious sauerkraut every time.
When your sauerkraut is ready, remove the top cabbage leaves and throw them away. You can keep the jar for several months in the fridge (although I must say we eat ours up in just a few weeks).
Enjoy! Let me know in the comments your experiences making sauerkraut. Have you ever tried making your own fermented foods?
Fine sea salt
cabbageWe used 8 1/2 pounds of cabbage
Prepare a clean workspace in your kitchen.
Cut each cabbage into quarters, remove each core, and shred the cabbage.
Add salt to pull water out of the cabbage to produce brine. This is where the good bacteria live and grow. The ratio of cabbage to salt is five pounds of cabbage to three tablespoons of salt. As the cabbage is shredded, begin to place the shredded pieces in a bowl. After each one-quarter of each head of cabbage is shredded, sprinkle some salt on it.
Message sea salt into your cabbage until the volume of the cabbage is reduced by about half or more.
Pack cabbage with brine into your fermentation jar.
Then cover the cabbage with whole cabbage leaves and the ceramic weights, attempting to keep the cabbage from floating out of the brine.
Moisten airlock, place into the lid, and cover your jar. Fill the airlock halfway (to the line) with filtered water and put the cap on.
Allow your sauerkraut to ferment for three weeks.
When your sauerkraut is ready, remove the top cabbage leaves and throw them away. You can keep the jar for several months in the fridge.
About Barbara Bianchi
Barbara loves to bring fun into the kitchen and healthy food to the table. She also enjoys drinking coffee, eating a little chocolate, reading a good novel, going for walks and spending time with her family and friends.
Hi Barbara & Nicole,
We make sauerkraut every year but we use crocks and let it ferment checking it occasionally to make sure it has enough juice. We make a lot at once. Our recipe is about the same as yours but we store our in quart and pint jars so we have enough into the next year. I try to eat a few tablespoons every day for the probiotics. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted!
I love sauerkraut! My family does not. ?? Maybe if I show them this post explaining how good it is for them, they’ll give it another try. Although…since they don’t like it…more for me! Thank you for breaking down the steps. It looks do-able to me!
As a (semi)native southern German (aka Army Brat, German mother, born in Bavaria, Germany) I L-O-V-E Sauerkraut! It literally was a staple in our household and I’ve continued this tradition with my family; although our son doesn’t enjoy it much. I’ve been wanting to try myself at making our own Sauerkraut and must say that this looks amazingly easy (definitely easier than I thought it would be)!
I love sauerkraut! Thank you for posting this, I’ll have to cut out my grocery store spending and head down the path of making my own. My grandpa used to make sauerkraut all the time and we would eat it with our family dinners with corned beef, so anything sauerkraut is super nostalgic. Thanks again for the recipe, I’ll have to give it a try!
I plan to make sauerkraut for the first time! Been eating it my whole life and excited to do this. I have a couple of questions:
– When you are finished, if you do not want to store it in the fridge, is there a way to keep it without ruining the the probiotics?
– When preparing it to eat, does cooking damage the probiotics?
Thank for the great instructions!
Excellent questions. Once your sauerkraut is ready and you break the seal, it must be stored in the fridge or it will go bad. And yes, cooking your sauerkraut would damage the probiotics.
Enjoy, Sally. There’s nothing like the taste of homemade. ??
That’s a great question. I love Himalayan salt!
I haven’t tried it to make sauerkraut though, so I can’t say for sure. But if you do, make sure it’s an extra-fine grain (not coarse).
I’d love to hear back how your sauerkraut turns out.
Have a great week. ??
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The Best Healthy Fast Food Options
Fast-food stores are plentiful and fast food has the reputation of being unhealthy, while an increasing number of large chains are adding more nutritious options to their menus.
Sockets that allow more customization of orders tend to have lower calorie or more feeder selections. However, there are currently healthy options on the menu of the largest fast-food chains.
In this article, we'll look at the overall calorie, fat and saturated fat content to find some of the healthiest options that seven big fast-food chains have to offer.
Note, however, that calories and fat are only two aspects of how healthy a meal is fed. If a person eats only fast food, it is not possible to get the necessary nutrients such as vitamins and fiber.
Sandwich with cheese and vegetables
One person can customize Subway sandwiches to choose healthy fillings.
Metro specialize in deli style sandwiches or "sub". As a person can customize every "sub", Subway can be one of the healthiest healthy fast-food chains.
Some of the best sandwich options are on the Subway's Fresh Fit menu. The 6-inch Turkey Breast sandwich with nine wheat bread contains 250 calories and 3 grams of fat, including 0.5 g of saturated fat.
A healthy vegetarian option, Veggie Delite in nine wheat bread. This "bottom" contains only 2 g calories, does not contain 2 g total fat and saturated fat. It also has one of the lowest sodium levels (salt) compared to other sandwiches.
Subway also offers salads that can be a low-calorie alternative to a sandwich. All salads include lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, onions, cucumbers, green peppers and olives.
Fast food and diabetes: Tips and options
Fast food and diabetes: Tips and options
Are you having trouble finding a fast-food option for living with diabetes and occasional treatment? We can help you.
2. Taco Bell
Taco Bell is another great fast-food chain with a variety of healthy options. The ability to personalize each order allows people to choose more vegetable-like nutrients.
According to Taco Bell's website, three-quarters of its menus are under 500 calories. Some of the lowest calorie options are the Fresco menu, which uses regular sauce and cheese instead of vegetable based salsa.
One of the healthiest options is Chicken Soft Taco. Each taco contains about 170 calories, 8 g fat, containing only 3 g of saturated fat.
Bean Burrito is a vegetarian option containing 11 g fat, 380 calories, including 4 g of saturated fat.
Vegetarian options are lower in fat than meat options.
Chipotle is a Mexican-style chain that specializes in tacos and burritos. Similar to Subway and Taco Bell, Chipotle allows people to customize their meals to include healthy choices.
Healthy options are burritos or white rice instead of white rice. In a chicken bowl bowl containing fresh tomato salsa and brown rice, there are 415 calories, 13 g fat and 4 g saturated fat.
For a lower calorie, vegetarian option, people can choose a plate of bean curd, brown rice and a sofritas patty with lettuce. It contains 365 calories, 10 g fat and 1.5 g saturated fat. Adding sauce will increase the number of calories.
McDonald's had the reputation of being unhealthy, but they recently reaffirmed themselves to offer a variety of fresh and nutritious ingredients. Some of these changes may be cosmetics, while McDonald's has better options.
Fillet-O-Fish contains 390 calories and 4 g of saturated fat from 19 g of total fat. Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad contains only 320 calories and 6 g of saturated fat from a total of 14 g.
5. Burger King
Burger King is one of the largest burger chains in the United States, but has a limited number of healthy options. But some choices are a little healthier than others.
It contains a normal, simple hamburger, 10 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, and 240 calories. Grilled Chicken Sandwich contains 470 calories, 3.5 g saturated fat and 19 g fat.
BK Veggie Burger can be a healthier option among these examples. Contains 2,5 g of saturated fat, 390 calories and 17 g of fat.
Baked potato with knife, sour cream and cheese filling on plate
Baked potatoes can be a healthy fast-food option.
Wendy is another common fast-food chain that allows people to personalize their orders to make their choices healthier.
The menu of the chain is not abundant in healthy options, but some meals are able to customize to lower the calorie content.
Salads are also available, and if a person chooses some of the half-size salad choices, they can stay below 500 calories.
With a few vegetarian options at Wendy's, Sour Cream and Chive Baked Potatoes