Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut

      Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut
I cannot believe that the middle of this Fall’s college semester is almost here (yikes!). Midterms are next week, so I have already been studying super hard for them. It is important for me more than ever not to get sick and unfortunately I feel a cold coming on! So glad I made this Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut to support my immune system. Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut
 A person’s immune system is located in their gut and is the place where numerous microorganisms call home.  These microorganisms can be good or bad, so type and number of them is important. The little guys that live down there help to digest food and produce vitamins and by products that are essential to life. Without them we wouldn’t be living, breathing, and enjoying each day to its fullest.
Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut
 Interestingly, bacteria on the body outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1. It is crazy and it amazing how much we rely on them. This is why it is so important to have healthy and good bacteria living in our gut, compared to yeast and other fungi.  Bad bacteria and yeast lead to disease, a weakened immune system (which means a greater susceptibility to getting sick or colds), and a decrease in overall health. One way to make sure  you have plenty of good bacteria in your gut is to eat probiotics.
Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut
 Probiotics can be found in many different varieties of fermented foods, which are usually raw and not heated to preserved the good bacteria. Great fermented foods to eat is kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto, kimchi, raw cheese, and yogurt. Read more about these foods from Dr. Axe at this link.
Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut
 Making sauerkraut is easy, although many people perceive it as being hard to make. Unfortunately you cannot can this sauerkraut to store and save for 3 months down the road. The heating involved in the canning process would destroy all the bacteria living on the sauerkraut that you want living in your gut, which have the potential to provide you with many health benefits.Read more here by the Wellness Mama
Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut

To learn more about the role of gut bacteria click here (European Food and Information Council) and here (WebMD)
Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut
Want to learn more about the science behind fermentation? Then click the link below!
Science Behind Sauerkraut Fermentation

 

This recipe was adapted from The Kitchn

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Raw Mason Jar Sauerkraut

Servings 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of cabbage weighing about 3 lbs
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Kosher salt I used 2 Tb.

Instructions

  1. Make sure that all your equipment is well cleaned. This includes mason jars, working surfaces, knife, cutting board, mixing bowls, canning funnel (if you choose to use one), and your hands. Have well cleaned objects reduces the risk of bad bacteria getting into your sauerkraut, which would make it harder for the good bacteria (Lactobacillus srains) to grow. Interesting though, as the number of good bacteria increase the pH (acidity) of the kraut also decreases (more acidic) inhibiting the growth of the pathogenic (harmful) and spoilage microorganisms.
  2. Remove the outer leaves and slice the cabbage into thin ribbons by first cutting the cabbage into 4 quarters, remove the core, and then cut into desired ribbon size. You can cut each quarter in half again, and then make ribbons.
  3. Place the cabbage in a bowl and add the salt by sprinkling on top and then toss the cabbage with your hands. Add up to 2 Tbs. salt.
  4. Massage and squeeze the cabbage to work in the salt. The cabbage will eventually become limp and water will be drawn out. This takes about 5-10 minutes.
  5. In two one quart mason jars or one two quart mason jar pack down the cabbage into the jar. Do this by placing the cabbage in the jar and then pressing down firmly to release more water. You should hear a crunching noise as you "bruise" the cabbage. I press down with my knuckles and find it helpful to stand on a stool so that the counter is about hip height.
  6. Continue to add cabbage and pressing down until the jar is full and liquid covers the cabbage.
  7. Pour any liquid remaining in the mixing bowl into the jar.
  8. The following is optional: weigh down the cabbage with a smaller jelly jar with marbles or clean stones by placing on top of the cabbage through the mouth of the larger mason jar. You can also cover the top of the cabbage with a large outer leaf. Both methods keep the cabbage beneath its liquid. I didn't weigh my cabbage down, but just checked it every other day to make sure it was below the liquid. If it wasn't I just simply pressed it down to submerge it again.
  9. Cover the jar with clean cloth and a rubber band. You can also lightly screw on a lid to prevent anything from getting into the jar.
  10. Over the next 24 hours press down the cabbage periodically to help it release more liquid and to become more compact. If for some reason, the liquid after 24 hours is below the cabbage then dissolve 1 tsp of salt in 1 c. of water and add as much of the salt solution as you need to cover the cabbage.
  11. Let ferment at room temperature for 5 days to 2 weeks (or longer if desired) at a cool room temperature (65 F-75 F). Keep the kraut out of the sunlight, which is why I covered my jar in aluminum foil. Smaller batches of sauerkraut ferment faster than the larger one. After 3-5 days taste the kraut and when it tastes good, tightly screw on the lid and store in the refrigerator. The time that you decide to end fermentation is up do you and depends upon your personal tastes.

Recipe Notes

During fermentation you may see white scum or bubbles which are signs of healthy good fermentation. The scum can be skimmed off before refrigerating and if you see any mold remove it immediately. Make sure the cabbage remains fully submerged. *Please note: I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. The information on this blog is what I have learned on my own from validated and trustworthy sources.

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