Fermented foods are an effortless way to optimize your wellness regime and can largely be left to their own devices, requiring little of your time and attention. I treat cultured vegetables like a condiment – a small portion with every meal to nurture my microflora, heal my gut, and fight pesky sugar cravings. This sauerkraut, in particular, is stunningly simple, consisting only of green cabbage, pink Himalayan sea salt, and a touch of caraway seeds for aromatic flair.
- 1 large head of organic green cabbage
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of pink Himalayan sea salt (or Celtic sea salt)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons organic caraway seeds
- 1 quart mason jar
- Canning funnel
- Mandoline (optional)
- Cloth to cover jar lip
- Rubber band
Fermentation requires a sterilized environment to avoid mold growth. Make sure that all equipment has been vigorously washed and dried.
Rinse the cabbage. Remove the outer leaves and set aside for later use.
Slice the cabbage in half, then into quarters. Slice the quarters in half again, finishing with 8 even wedges. Cut out the core and discard.
Slice each wedge into very thin ribbons or use a mandoline to achieve the same result.
Place the cabbage, salt, and seeds in a large bowl. Massage the mixture for approximately 10 minutes, breaking down the cabbage with your hands as it becomes watery and releases its juice.
Using the canning funnel, push the watery mixture into the mason jar, packing the cabbage as you go to keep the ribbons submerged under the juice.
Once the cabbage is packed, roll or fold the reserved outer leaves to fill any additional space in the jar. It is important to pack the cabbage up to the lip of the jar, to avoid pockets of air which can promote mold growth.
Cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or string. Place the jar away from direct sunlight for 24 hours, occasionally removing the cloth and pushing the cabbage down to keep it submerged. You might notice excess liquid bubbling up from the jar and down the side of the glass (a plate under the jar is often recommended to contain the liquid).
After 24 hours, remove the cloth and lightly fix the canning lid on top of the jar, careful not to screw it on too tightly. At this time, if extra liquid is required to keep the cabbage submerged, dissolve 1 teaspoon of pink Himalayan sea salt into 1 cup of filtered water and add the mixture as needed.
Keep the jar away from direct sunlight at room temperature for at least 3 days, although 7-10 days is preferred for increased fermentation. If at any point the cabbage is not submerged, add additional salt water.
White foam will form throughout the fermentation process. Skim the foam off the top during fermentation or after the process is complete. If you see mold growth, remove the affected area immediately.
Upon completion of the fermentation process, discard the outer leaves, remove the sauerkraut from the jar and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two months.