There is a lot of talk today about the importance of probiotics. And they really are important. Many of us have problems with digestion, because our foods are highly processed and the enzymes needed to metabolize food are destroyed. Our bodies are also depleted of these healthy microbes from the over use of antibiotics and other pharmaceutical agents. For this reason, lots of people turn toward a supplement bottle to get the probiotics they need. However, the answer may be closer than your local health food store. The answer can be in your kitchen.
Our family has come to love the taste and health benefits of cultured vegetables, especially sauerkraut. They are not only tasty, but a natural source of probiotic content to help increase the natural flora in our bodies. Our theory is why pay for something that comes in a supplement bottle when we are already having to spend money on food that can give us the same benefit if we choose wisely.
In this case, we have been cultivating our own cabbage plants since early spring in the garden.
Now that they are starting to develop really good sized heads, the process of making naturally cultured sauerkraut begins. After washing any residual amount of soil off the head after bringing it in from the garden, the first step is to shred the cabbage. This can be done in a food processor or just by using a well sharpened knife.
After the cabbage is shredded, it is ready to be pounded. It is recommended that you pound the shredded cabbage for about 10 minutes to help release the natural juice. During this process you will need to add either 2 tablespoons of good quality sea salt or one tablespoon sea salt and four tablespoons of whey.
The final step is to place the cabbage into mason jars and allow it to naturally cultured on the counter for 3 days. After this three days, it is to be stored in the refrigerator. It can be eaten right away, but the flavor improves as it ages. We have generally found that several weeks of aging in the refrigerator makes for a wonderful flavor.
Our experience has shown that a medium to large head of cabbage will yield approximately one quart of sauerkraut. Like other foods you make at home, it is wonderful to experiment with different variations. You can add in other shredded vegetables as well as seasonings such as crushed red pepper, dill, or garlic.