For all of us, gut health is so important … that’s why this easily fermented red cabbage Sauerkraut is such a great natural probiotic. The same process can be used for many vegetables in order to build optimal digestion which also aids our immune systems.
Cabbage has been a traditional starter for Lacto Fermentation …. this method of food preservation enhances the nutrient content of food and stimulates good gut bacteria. In turn this bacteria produces vitamins and enzymes that are beneficial for digestion and gut health.
I like to use red cabbage because of the glorious colour but green is equally nutritious. And for those who think ‘Yuk’ Cabbage …. Think again …. once fermented this Kraut bears little resemblance to unfermented cabbage!
GET STARTED : my basic recipe
1. SLICE or SHRED
Using a chopping board or food processor ….. thinly slice / shred and place in a large bowl
1/2 Red Cabbage ( 6-7″ D ) wash and save the outer leaves
1/4 small Red Onion or 1 spring onion
Optional ….. 1 Beetroot, 1 Carrot
Add 3/4 -1 teaspoons salt ( or more for larger cabbage / extra ingredients )
Small amount of Pepper &/or Chilli if desired ( remember you can always add extra but you can’t take it away! )
- When you become experienced, you can make double this quantity … it does not go off … it just increases in goodness.
*Often I make Kraut at the same time I am making Zuccini tarts so that I can add the salted, drained Zuccini juice ….. nothing wasted!
Pound mixture with a Kraut Pounder, the end of a wooden rolling pin or potato masher, in order to break down the fibre and release juices
3. STACK & FERMENT
Press the mixture tightly into a jar or vessel once it is sufficiently broken down …. be sure to fill the jar no more than 3/4 full as the mix will bubble up. Add some extra brine ( *or saved zuccini juice ) to make sure that the kraut is covered. ( to make a light brine add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 1/2 cup warm water that has been boiled earlier ….. let cool before adding to the mix )
Place folded outer leaves on top to keep all of the kraut securely packed down
Then weight with another jar filled with pastry weights
Cover and leave it in the pantry to ferment for 4-5 days or longer if you prefer.
It will bubble up as the enzymes start working and sometimes form a light froth on top … this can be discarded when you decant.
4. DECANT & REFRIDGERATE
Once Kraut has fermented, decant into smaller jars ( I use Le Parfait or similar )
When the 5pm urge to snack arrives I have a small serve of my natural probiotic for the day …. Yum!
Alternatively, dollop a spoonful into a bowl of soup or use as a side to a salad or mains. Drink all of the juice for goodness sake!