Making your own sauerkraut is very simple and a great way to add fermented vegetables to your paleo diet. You’ll be so surprised how easy it is to make, never again will you have to pay 20 dollars for a jar of live sauerkraut. You can make it yourself for just a few dollars.
Why include fermented vegetables in your diet?
First and foremost, because you enjoy the flavor and zing of fermented foods. If you don’t enjoy the flavor, don’t include it in your diet. I eat the Paleolithic diet not just for my health, but because I get to eat foods I love.
Fermented foods are more digestible. The bacteria have already started the digestive process and many times make nutrients more available and create some nutrients like B vitamins.
How to Make your own
Locate two jars. I like to use a quart jar and then a small jar that will fit in the opening of the larger jar.
Prepare the vegetables. I figure about 1/2 a medium head of cabbage per quart jar. Plus any other vegetables you’d like to add to the mix. I recommend: onions, garlic, sea vegetable, radishes, carrots, and any spices you might like. Grate the vegetables and cut up the cabbage as fine or as coarse as you’d like.
Place in a large bowl. Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl and add salt. I never measure, but probably add a teaspoon or two for each quart. Also mix and squeeze the vegetables with your hands to start releasing the juices.
Transfer to the jar. Transfer small amounts of vegetable, cabbage and salt mixture to the jar. Pack the mixture tightly in the jar with your hand or other kitchen instrument (I like to use a muddler as seen above). Continue transferring a small amount and packing until the jar is almost full.
Cover. Fill the small jar with water and place on top of the kraut. The small jar will hold the vegetables under the liquid and allow them to ferment properly. The liquid may take a day to rise above the vegetable mixture, if it hasn’t add some salt water to top it off after about one day.
Ferment. Place the jar in the kitchen somewhere where you’ll remember to check it (the smell will remind you too). Taste the kraut every few days and transfer to the refrigerator when it is to your liking (usually about a week or two, less when it warmer in the kitchen).
I am really starting to enjoy fermenting my own food. I plan to have many more fermented recipes in the future. If you want to learn more I highly recommend reading Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods and even Nourishing Traditions has a nice section on fermentation.
What is your favorite fermented vegetable?