Sauerkraut may have a German name to us on the west of the world, but this superfood was consumed by the Chinese long before it became popular in Europe. Sauerkraut was a staple food to Chinese labourers building the Great Wall of China more than 2,000 years ago. It made its way to Europe around 1000 years ago.
Historically sauerkraut had an essential role in keeping people fed and healthy during the winter or during long periods of difficult access to fresh produce. Not only because it keeps the nutrient value of the cabbage, but it adds nutrients to the food because the microorganism from the fermentation produces some nutrients that aren’t present in the non-fermented vegetable, it also makes vitamin that are present more bioavailable. It does all that without the need for refrigeration. That is why we chose it to feature as “the winter fermented food” recipe.
During the global exploration era between the 16th to 19th centuries, sailing expeditions journeyed the world and during these long journeys scurvy, a disease caused by extreme vitamin C deficiency claimed the life of many aboard. After learning the disease was caused by the deprivation of vitamin C, they had another problem, how do you keep vitamin C rich foods for months without refrigeration? Sauerkraut!
Ingredients and Equipment
1 medium cabbage
1 to 3 Tablespoons of Sea Salt
Cutting board, Knife, Big Bowl, Mason jars
+ Weight to hold the cabbage under the brine.
Slice cabbage and put in the bowl
Add the salt & massage it for about 10 min (or until enough juice is released)
Transfer the cabbage into the jars
Pour the liquid on top leaving an inch of space
Push the contents down as much as you can
Add a weight on top of the cabbage to keep everything under the safety of the brine
Cover with a cheese cloth, tighten with a rubber band & put in a dark place
The juice released by the cabbage after “massaging” it is called the brine, you need it in order to create your safe anaerobic environment.
Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric for its immuno-boosting properties and have it ready when you need it.
Fermenting sauerkraut in mason jars instead of in a larger fermentation crock is a great opportunity to create different “flavours” of Kraut in different smaller jars is also cheaper. You can add other vegetables, fruits and herbs to your basic kraut recipe & make the possibilities endlessly delicious!