In the past few months, my family’s diet has changed drastically. One of my kids was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, so we as a family chose to go gluten free. The first step was to eliminate gluten from our diet as well as our house (we had to get rid of our toaster). Next, Lin, my super inquisitive wife, did a ton of research on what foods could actually heal the gut and naturally fermented sauerkraut was high on the list.
Cabbage fermented? Naturally!
I have to say I have never been fond of cabbage or any other vegetable of its family. Granted my sauerkraut days goes back to growing up in New York and eating a dirty water frank with a heap of the vinegary shredded almost translucent white stuff on it for a change of pace, but not very often. Since it is good for my son, I put aside my own dislikes and helped my wife prepare our first jar of sauerkraut (I basically did the mashing).
There are only three ingredients in making sauerkraut. Of course you need cabbage, then salt and last but not least the whey. When we started this, we weren’t drinking raw milk yet (another story), so we needed our whey from something else. We turned to yogurt. Do you know that liquid you get when you open a container of yogurt? Well that’s whey. We wanted to stay natural and organic so we decide on an organic Bulgarian style yogurt put out by a local Austin company, White Mountain Foods.
It’s a little Cheesy
Lin collected the whey from the yogurt through cheesecloth into a jar, which drained for a few hours. What was left in the cheesecloth was a tart spreadable yogurt cheese that we all put on crackers and ate with much delight. I’m sure you could add some herbs and garlic to it and make a delicious herb spread.
Now that we had the whey, Lin added a quarter cup to a shredded head of organic cabbage, some shredded carrots and teaspoon of Redman’s Real Salt. With a masher, we pulverized the cabbage and carrots for at least 15 minutes. It does get tiring after awhile so having a tag team partner makes it easier on the wrists.
The mashed up cabbage was transferred to a jar (make sure you have plenty of room left over) we filled a Ziploc bag with water and put that on top of the cabbage (it keeps the sauerkraut packed on the bottom of the jar) and closed the lid. Let it sit out on your counter for about a week and vuala you’ve got sauerkraut.
I have to say, I am now liking cabbage and its counterparts a lot more these days and I eat our homemade sauerkraut every week. The biggest surprise was that the kids love it and ask for it all the time. So if you’re eating over our house, most likely there will be a jar of our Sauerkraut at the table.