Each Tuesday I will be posting new articles and guides on how to accomplish a task that will help you cook, prep, feel, look, perform and live better. Check out the archives of How To posts here. If you have any suggestions for posts, email them to me at [email protected], or comment on the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.
Alright my paleo peoples, time for another week of How To Tuesdays. This time we’ll be chatting about how you can make your own sauerkraut at home. A lot of people don’t understand simply HOW easy it is to make your own fermentable foods at home. Beyond that, people also don’t realize how beneficial fermented foods are either.
Other than the basic fact that sauerkraut is delicious and easy to make, it is profoundly nutritious for you. While you’re getting nutrients from the food itself, the main reason sauerkraut is so beneficial is because all of the bugs you’re getting with the food. In fact, your body is not entirely human. You are made up of 10x more bacterial cells than human cells. You better treat them right and have the right ones around.
Gut function is mediated by the bugs in it and regulates some of the most important processes in your body, including (obviously) digestion, mental status, immune system, hormone secretion and more.
How does it work?
Sauerkraut is fermented by way of lactofermentation. What happens are certain bacteria on the outsides of plant matter, including lactobacillus, eat the sugar in the cabbage in the presence of salt water and excrete lactic acid as a byproduct. This is what kills the bad bacteria and keeps your kraut super healthy. These beneficial bacteria then go from jar to fork to gut, helping restore a healthy gut flora.
We’re going to be doing this on a very small scale so you can get your feet wet in the fermentation world. You can definitely scale this process up and use huge vats and crocks like some techniques call for, but we are focused on convenience here. Our instructions include cabbage, a mason jar, salt and time. Most people can easily come across these things. This technique goes to show how easy it is to ferment at home.
Why make your own sauerkraut?
Why make this yourself when you can go out and buy a gigantic jar for a few bucks? Well, because unless refrigerated and tagged “raw”, the vast majority of sauerkraut is pasteurized, which means heated, which means all of the beneficial bacteria are dead. Making it at home ensures that you get the most beneficial sauerkraut possible. It is also a lot cheaper than buying the raw type at Whole Foods or other boutique health stores.
Not only that, but once you get rolling, you can start customizing your kraut blends to your liking. I’m a huge fan of adding garlic, onion and hot peppers. Maybe you like peppercorns and herbs, who knows. The most important part is making this yourself is an easy way to ensure it comes out the way you want it!
Not to mention it is just fun. Get on with it and check out below just how simple it is to make your own sauerkraut at home!
What you’ll need
1 cabbage, chopped
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 mason jar
- Cut up an entire cabbage and place in a large mixing bowl. The thinner the better here. Strips or diced, you choose, it is your kraut!
- Add salt and mix with your hands. Get in there and rub it all down for a good 3-5 minutes or until the the cabbage becomes wilty and wet.
- Stuff inside a large mouthed mason jar. Try to get all of the cabbage submerged in the juices that were made when you were crunching with your hands. Get creative if all of the cabbage isn’t submerged and toss something in there.
- Wait. For about a week or so, the kraut will begin to ferment. Bugs will proliferate and eat all of the bad bacteria. The fermentation process will include some white bubbling at the top, this is normal. Once this process has stopped (roughly a week) you are ready to go! Scrape off any scum that could have developed on the top and toss in your fridge.
Do you want some recipes for different types of kraut or different ways to incorporate it into your diet? Hit me up and let me know. If there is overwhelming request, I’ll post a bunch of different articles for you paleos.
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If you were adventurous and this was your first time making kraut, take some pics of the progress and tag The Paleo Fix on Instagram, FB or Twitter with @thepaleofix or #thepaleofix so we can check it out and repost!
Do you like learning how to take care of yourself from a food and fitness standpoint? Excellent! You can find more awesome resources for taking your movement and physical performance to the next level each week over at The Movement Fix by Dr. Ryan DeBell with Movement Fix Mondays.