Sauerkraut is considered to be an acquired taste. Recently, however, many are starting to enhance its flavor with herbs and spices to benefit from its nutritional value. Sauerkraut is essentially cabbage that has been cured with salt. It is a zesty-flavored addition to salads, sandwiches and other dishes. Learn how to make sauerkraut right the first time in your kitchen.
Nutrients in Sauerkraut
Because its main ingredient is cabbage, you can be sure it is filled with fiber and iron. Research shows that sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins C and K. Getting more fiber in your diet has great benefits on digestion and bowel function. Iron is a valuable mineral and can provide an energy boost through its ability to oxygenate blood and cells. Vitamin C and K strengthen your bones and immune system.
Sauerkraut has a unique health advantage over ordinary cabbage. During the curing process, it grows live bacteria which act as natural probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that are good for your gastrointestinal health and have healing capabilities.
How to Make Sauerkraut
- 1 head of cabbage
- Salt as needed
- Crock or container
- Prep the cabbage by removing loose leaves and cutting into quarters. Cut each quarter lengthwise to shred.
- Place shredded cabbage into a bowl or crock. Add 4 tablespoons of salt for every 8 ounces of cabbage. Mix ingredients thoroughly and allow it to sit for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, the cabbage should have begun to wilt and produce a liquid. Punch down the shredded cabbage with your fists until it is compacted to the level of the liquid. If not, pour in a cup of moderately salted water (about 1 tablespoon of salt).
- Find a plate or dish small enough to fit snugly inside the container or crock. Press down the dish so that cabbage is fully submerged in its own liquid. Add extra pressure by placing a can of beans or soup on top. Cover all with a clean dishtowel or cloth to catch dust.
- Allow the sauerkraut to ferment for 4-6 weeks in a cool place. Replace the clean cloth covering the crock with another every week to keep dust from gathering. Taste to see if it is done. When it’s ready, remove any growing mold and transfer sauerkraut into an airtight jar or container. Serve.
- Note: the mold will only be present if the cabbage is not fully submerged; make sure to submerge the cabbage in liquid completely to avoid it.
How to Make Sauerkraut Tips and Tricks
When curing cabbage, keep in mind that mould will grow in and around the crock or container you’re using for fermentation. Check after 4 weeks for any growths and remove them promptly. Make sure fermenting sauerkraut is always submerged. If not, add a heavier can or object on top to press cabbage down deeper into liquid.
Learning how to make sauerkraut is as interesting as its tangy flavor. You need to exercise patience in order to master this craft. Once your technique is refined, add flavoring ingredients like caraway seeds or ground black pepper for better taste.