Got probiotics? These friendly microorganisms live in our digestive tract and may improve normal digestive health and immune function. If you buy them at the store – from capsules to sauerkraut to daily kombuchas – you know it can cost a pretty penny. Try making your own kraut instead! All it takes is one head of cabbage, a few tablespoons of Kalahari Desert Salt and pure water. Not only is it cheap, it’s really easy, too. Our staff member Sara has perfected a recipe that we are happy to share with you!
- 1 head cabbage (purple or green)
- 2 ½ – 3 Tbsp fine Kalahari Desert Salt
- 1-2 garlic cloves (optional)
- 1-2 cayenne peppers (optional)
- Pure water
- Gallon-sized jar and lid
- Nut milk bag, cheese cloth, or mesh
- Breathable kitchen towel
- 2 or 3 rocks or crystals, about 5 inches in length
- Rubber band
- Sterilize your jar and your rocks.
- Remove the first 2 or 3 outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside.
- Finely chop the rest of the cabbage by hand or with a food processor. Place in a bowl.
- If you opt for the garlic, mince or finely chop it and mix it with your cabbage in the bowl. For a more traditional kraut, you can mix in 10 juniper berries.
- Layer the cabbage and the salt in the jar by taking two large handfuls of cabbage, placing them evenly in the jar and sprinkling 2 small handfuls of salt on top of each layer of cabbage. Repeat several times until you have used all the cabbage and salt.
- Add in your cayenne peppers (if you like a little heat) by pressing them down along the sides of the jar. For a more traditional kraut, you can use 1-2 dried bay leaves instead.
- Make sure that your cabbage mixture is evenly distributed in the jar. Now take your outer cabbage leaves and place them on top of your chopped cabbage / salt mixture so that it’s completely covered. Give a good pressing to the top of the outer leaves to make sure everything is nice and compressed.
- Place your rocks on top of the outer leaves to help keep the mixture down.
- Add pure water to almost completely cover the rocks. If you like, you can add more water if you wish to have more liquid for a probiotic energy drink.
- Sprinkle two last pinches of salt to the top of the water line.
- Cover the jar with a nut milk bag, cheese cloth, or mesh and seal with a rubber band around the rim of the jar. The place the lid on top of the jar – do not screw it on. The idea is to let the culture breathe, but not let invasive organisms inside the jar.
- Next cover the jar with a breathable kitchen towel.
- Place the jar in a warm, dark place for 1-4 weeks, depending on the temperature of the room and how much fermentation you would like to occur. Do not place the jar in the fridge until the fermentation process is complete. The jar will need to ferment somewhere well ventilated so that the aroma does not get too intense.
- When your sauerkraut is ready to harvest, look to see if there is a film along the top of the water. If there is, simply skim it off with a spoon. Then strain the remaining liquid with a colander. You can drink it if you like, a little bit each day for an energizing elixir filled with enzymes and probiotics.
- Place your homemade sauerkraut in a new jar. Refrigerate and enjoy!