The process of lactic acid fermentation is used to transform salt and cabbage into sauerkraut and increases vitamins, particularly vitamin C and B, and food enzymes.
Moreover, homemade sauerkraut is also extraordinarily rich in beneficial bacteria – friendly microorganisms which help to colonize the gut, train the immune system and manufacture vitamins in the digestive tract.
- 1 medium head green cabbage (1kg)
- 2 tblspns whey (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt (25gms) (Himalayan sea salt is best)
- 1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, for flavour)
- Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core.
- Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging the cabbage with your hands. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you'd like to flavor your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, mix them in now.
- Pack the cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the jar. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar, along with the whey. Keep submerged cabbage in place using outer leaves weighed down with stones. Cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents dust or insects from getting into the jar.
- Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: While fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 20°C. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.