Fermenting your own sour kraut is so easy. It’ll save you money AND give you health benefits.
Kraut is a fermented food, which means it’s loaded with probiotics! But wait! It only has probiotics if it’s not pasteurized. That means it’s only helpful if you find it in the cold section of the store (The Healthy Life, 19:37) The shelf-stable sour kraut in the condiment section is heat-treated, so all the probiotics are dead, if they were even in there in the first place (many commercial krauts are made with vinegar and not naturally fermented). This condiment kraut might taste good on your food, but it can actually make your inflammatory condition worse since it’s got tons of histamines (histamine foods). If you’re sensitive to histamines, pasteurized kraut is doubly bad, because you’re taking in histamines and none of the probiotics that help break the histamine down.
Anyway, on to making the kraut. I haven’t been able to find refrigerated sour kraut in my store, so I make my own.
First off, chop up some cabbage (I prefer red cabbage because of it’s high antioxidant content). Then put the cabbage in filtered water. Try to put a big piece of cabbage on top to help submerge the cabbage (it only ferments if it’s under water, otherwise it just rots). Add up to a tsp salt if you wish, but it’s not necessary.
Many recipes say to bash up the cabbage with a pounder. This takes some work, and I’ve found that it’s not necessary. It’ll help you fit more cabbage in a jar, but that’s it.
Let it sit on the counter (or even outside, just not in direct sunlight) for a minimum of 2 weeks. This’ll take longer the cooler the temperature is. After that time, check on it. You may notice a white, sticky film on the top.
This is nothing to worry about. It actually means your kraut is fermenting correctly (vinegar article). This film is a sign that good bacteria are getting into your kraut. If you save this and pour it into your next batch of kraut, it will ferment faster (the film is the “mother”).
This may sound gross, but it you see mold forming on top of your kraut, just scoop it out and let the kraut sit open on the counter overnight. The good bacteria will kill off any remaining mold bacteria.
After you see this film, and once the kraut tastes like kraut, it’s ready to eat! For purely probiotic use. Eat a spoonful a day. It’s just like taking a supplement (but fermented food probiotics have a much higher survivability through your stomach acid than probiotic pills). Otherwise, eat just like normal. I recommend beginning the next batch of kraut when you start eating the current batch since it takes time to ferment.