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CabinKraut – The Health Food Superstar You Can Make Easily

CabinKraut – The Health Food Superstar You Can Make Easily

CabinKraut (homemade sauerkraut) – The Health Food Superstar You Can Make Easily

We call it our “CabinKraut” and it is our not very clever name for homemade sauerkraut that we make at the cabin. And what makes it a “superfood” that is simply one of the best foods you can eat is partially due to what it is NOT, and that is pasteurized. Now, pasteurization is one of the great things to ever have been invented. For all of those over the top people health nuts who knock it, it actually has been one of the great lifesavers in history. But, it does destroy some healthy parts of foods.

For CabinKraut, we don’t have to distribute the product and make sure that it can last various condition changes, as we are making it at home and for our own consumption. When you ferment cabbage to make sauerkraut and have it before pasteurization, you get a powerhouse health food, with many health benefits.

Health Benefits of Unpasteurized Sauerkraut

  • A high level of lactobacilli bacteria which improves digestive function.  Lowers risk of: lactose intolerance, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and in several studies has shown promise as a cancer preventative.
  • Low in calories
  • High fiber source, and along with the probiotics is a digestive superstar
  • Very high in Vitamin C and B Vitamins
  • Contains a healthy amount of Vitamin K and a moderate source of Iron
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Excellent tool in maintaining blood sugar levels

How to Make Sauerkraut using Mason Jars

What you will need:

This is very simple, and very cheap.  You will need some regular sized mason jars, some coffee filters or cheesecloth, cabbage, salt, and maybe some caraway seed.

Process: 

  • Wash your mason jars thoroughly and set aside. Take the middle section of the tops out, so now you have the screw on top without the metal middle section. Set aside.
  • Get your cabbage (any type will do) and a sharp knife and a cutting board.  First, take off the first couple of outer leaves and set aside. Rinse them in cold water and set aside.  Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the core parts, and place the quarter flat on the cutting board and cut thin slices off until you are through each quarter. Place in a large bowl and tear apart with your hands so it turns into cabbage ribbons.  If you are going to be doing this often, you could consider getting a cabbage slicer, which makes this job much easier. Generally, the thinner the slices, the better the kraut.
  • Add salt to your cabbage. Don’t use salt with iodine or other additives. A fine ground, no iodine salt is best. For a normal sized head of cabbage, you will want to use about 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of salt, but there is a lot of flexibility with this. We normally go a little higher on the amount of salt than most recipes suggest.
  • You might want to do this in batches, as you will want to bruise up your cabbage. Some people do this manually, but that can be a lot of work. A nice, heavy potato masher is a good tool for this, or again, you can get a cabbage tamper, which makes this process much easier. The salt will draw out the liquids from the cabbage, and you will want to spend about a good 10 minutes beating up your cabbage to make it to start giving up its liquid.
  • Transfer the cabbage and all of the liquid into mason jars. You can use the tamper here again, or the back side of a solid ice cream scooper works as well.  Keep pressing the cabbage down in the mason jars, you will want to keep pounding the cabbage as well, and it needs to be fully immersed in liquid. It slowly will keep releasing liquid, so you may want to tamp it, give it a little time, come back and tamp some more.  If you don’t get enough liquid out of it to submerge the cabbage, you can mix a little water with some salt and pour into the jars.
  • Once you have tamped it down into the jar and you can see liquid is all the way covering it, you can add some of the outer leaves you saved from before.  This will help protect it from getting moldy and will keep the little pieces of cabbage from floating up to the top.
  • Weighing down: this is an optional step, but does help keep the cabbage compact for best fermentation. You can get some more mason jars of the much smaller variety and fill with something heavy and place inside the bigger jars, use shot glasses filled with something heavy, etc. We have done without weighing and the sauerkraut came out fine, but it does help the process. There is a pretty cool tool that will help with keeping the cabbage weighed down called fermentation weights, which can be very convenient.
  • Once you have the cabbage submerged, and covered with the outer cabbage leaves, you will want to cover. We suggest using something that breathes, and our favorite is old-fashioned coffee filters. Place one over the top of the jar and screw on the lid without the middle piece. Cheesecloth works as well. Some recipes suggest just using the full cover, and that works as well, but you will want to open it every other day or so to sort of “burp” it and alleviate the pressure.
  • Store in a cool place, about cellar temperature and without being in direct light.
  • It can take about 10 days, but you want to check after a week. The green of the cabbage should be gone, and at this stage will be still fairly firm and salty.  If this is to your taste, you can move to the fridge at this point to suspend the fermentation.  If you want it to ferment some more, which will make the cabbage less crunchy and less salty, give it a few more days.
  • I have mold on the top, what do I do?  Don’t worry, this happens, and generally means that you are storing it where it is a bit too warm, too much light, and the cabbage is not fully submerged. Don’t worry, scoop off the mold off the top, and if it still smells like kraut, you are fine. We found that the more batches that we did the less mold we had, as we made improvements in getting the cabbage submerged and how we stored it.
  • Once you have the kraut to where you like the taste, move it to the fridge and it stores for many months because of the good bacteria in there. Just try not to boil it or microwave it to death, killing all of those wonderful little “gut bugs” that you worked so hard to create.

Other CabinKraut Additions

The most common addition to making sauerkraut is caraway seeds, and we always add this, as it is the key flavor component of most sauerkraut versions in the jar that we are used to.  Other popular additions are adding garlic cloves, spicy peppers, dill, and shredded carrots. You will find that the more you make it, the more ideas that you will have.

Homemade Sauerkraut Video

She does a nice job explaining the basic process.  In this video, she does the full cover, which works well, but we generally do the coffee filter method.

Recommended Reading

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Also published on Medium.

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