I have always loved sauerkraut. But after trying a homemade sauerkraut recipe, the commercially canned stuff just doesn’t do it for me any more. Once I discovered how flavorful and nutritious fermented veggies are, I actually enrolled in a fermentation class at the local community center to help me master the basics. I was shocked at how easy it was and quickly began experimenting at home with different combinations of vegetables to try.
Regardless of my latest fermentation project, I always have sauerkraut on hand for two reasons: taste and simplicity. The tang and crunchy texture keep me coming back and prep is a breeze. There’s really nothing to it. The sauerkraut recipe consists of cabbage, salt and a container to put it in. The hardest part about making sauerkraut is waiting to eat it!
Sauerkraut relies on lacto-fermentation. The Lactobacillus bacteria on the cabbage converts sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetable and inhibits growth of harmful bacteria. The salt also helps prevent bad bacteria from growing, so don’t be afraid of the kraut!
It’s totally safe, but you’ll need to be careful to use clean containers and utensils during preparation as to not introduce potential contaminates. I use a bowl, wide-mouth mason jar, and a canning funnel. The collapsible canning funnel that I use fits both regular and wide-mouth mason jars and greatly reduces the mess. The first few times I made sauerkraut, I did it without a funnel and ended up with half of it on the counter.
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I prefer to eat my sauerkraut raw to reap the benefits of the probiotic bacteria. When cooked, the heat kills off the gut-healthy live cultures. Try adding sauerkraut to a salad, garnish to your favorite protein or as a side-dish of it’s own. You can add additional seasonings or ferment with other veggies for unique flavor combinations. Caraway seeds are a very popular addition to sauerkraut recipes.
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