A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to the process of making fermented sauerkraut. At the time, I had a farm share that was giving me loads of cabbage every week. Even though I rather like cabbage salad, at some point I needed a bit more variety! Oddly enough, I have a child who just adores sauerkraut, so I decided to try making it. It’s so easy!
Why Eat Fermented Foods?
Sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and many other traditional foods are a good way to preserve food, even if you don’t have electricity. They’re also full of great probiotics; good bacteria that help your gut. These are especially important for children, since they’re busy building up a population of good bacteria in their tummies.
Dangers of Fermented Foods
Can fermented food be dangerous? Any food can come with dangers: Unwashed lettuce could have manure bearing E. Coli on it, for example. If a fermented food smells or looks at all off, then I don’t eat it. I just send it out to the compost. Your sauerkraut should be crispy, salty, and delicious, not dank-tasting. Like all baking and cooking, use your better judgment. Keep a clean working surface, wash your hands, and throw away anything that seems doubtful!
What You Need to Make Sauerkraut
Making sauerkraut is simple. You will need:
- A cabbage
- A cutting board
- A large knife
- A crock or a large wide-mouthed mason jar
- Sea salt, about half a tablespoon for each pound of cabbage
- A large bowl
- 1 small mason jar
- Canning funnel
- Cheesecloth and elastic bands
- Warm water
- Something to pound your sauerkraut
Getting Ready to Make Sauerkraut
First, wash your hands. Make sure that your containers are all clean. Find a work space where you can spread out a little bit. Make sure that your knife, your pounder, and your big bowl are at the ready.