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oktoberfest? sauerkraut of course!

having been joining some very important festivities in Germany we came back with lots of inspiration, but also a dear need to cleanse and revitalize our bodies ;)

so what better than fermented foods and drinks? you know that kale can be called a superfood as it's so nutritious, and hej, it's season right now! so today you will get a sauerkraut recipe and next time the one for kombucha (you did not think I was drinking beer here?!!)

sauerkraut is both easy to make, cheap and has a great nutritional profile: low calories, low on carbohydrates, low saturated fat, low cholesterol, heart healthy, weight healthy, appropriate for diabetes, gluten and milk free, high on sodium, potassium and vitamin C (35% daily value) and the fermentation process loads it with the same valuable probiotics as a bowl of yoghurt.

what can go wrong? if the process does not take off or you get black mold you used iodized salt, had dirty hands/tools or used non-ecological cabbage, which apparently can spoil the fermentation process.

Ingredients for about 2,5 liter of sauerkraut:

2,5 kg ecological white cabbage

3 table spoons spices to your liking, e.g. anise seeds or cumin seeds

3 tablespoons non-iodized salt

salt solution, as needed (1 teaspoon non-iodized salt, dissolved, per 2,5 dl water)

sealable plastic bags

a 5-6 liter glass, stone or ceramic jar or several smaller ones

  • rinse the cabbage under cold water and remove the outer leaves. cut out the core and slice very thinly. place about one-third in a large clean bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt; with clean hands, knead the salt into the cabbage until the cabbage starts to release a little liquid. repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the cabbage and the remaining 2 tablespoons salt, vigorously kneading the salt into the cabbage after each addition.

  • once all the cabbage is in the bowl, add the spices and use both hands to massage the cabbage mixture thoroughly, using your fingers to squeeze the cabbage, releasing as much of its liquid as possible, about 10 minutes.

  • put the mixture and its liquid into a jar, using your clean fists or a clean kitchen tool, pack the cabbage into the jar with as much force as possible, removing all air pockets. let stand uncovered for 2 hours. pack the cabbage down once again. it should be completely covered in liquid. if not, add enough additional salt solution to cover.

  • fill a sealable plastic bag about two-thirds full with salt solution (not plain water in case they leak during fermentation). place bag directly on the surface of the cabbage mixture, using the bag as water weight to keep the cabbage fully submerged at all times. use enough water weights to cover the whole surface. cover the container with a clean dish towel and place the lid on top. place in a cool (around 16°C), dark place. the cooler the temperature, the slower the fermentation.

  • check the sauerkraut every few days. remove any scum or bits of white/light gray mold from the surface with a clean spoon and wipe off the plastic bag as necessary. (white/gray mold is not harmful. if you see any black mold, discard the sauerkraut. pink-colored “slime” on the surface is a yeast that, while not harmful, spoils the flavor and texture.) pack the sauerkraut back down and replace the weights. if the kraut is not fully covered, add additional salt solution. replace the dish towel and lid.

  • after 2 to 3 weeks, use a clean fork to take out a sample to taste. If you like the flavor and have seen bubbles on the surface (a sign of fermentation), it’s ready to be refrigerated. if you want more flavor, re-cover and continue fermenting until it develops a flavor that you like. if you like the taste, transfer the sauerkraut and liquid to smaller, airtight containers. refrigerate for up to 6 months.

also here, promise to be creative! you can add other vegetables as well , as here on the picture carrots, you can ferment almost any vegetable this way.

for best results you eat the kraut raw, add it to salads, roll it into your sushi or add it into a soup, there are no limits!

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