Before refrigeration, our ancestors ingeniously preserved food through fermentation. Fermenting not only extends the shelf life of food, it also makes the food more nutritious for us to eat. Basically, fermentation starts the process of breaking the food down, so our bodies can use the nutrients more efficiently. And as an added bonus, traditionally fermented foods like sauerkraut come loaded with probioticsâ€”the good bacteria that we need to stay healthy.
I like adding turmeric to my sauerkraut to bump up the anti-inflammatory benefitsâ€”and because it gives it such a bright and sunny look!
The trick with fermenting is to not be afraid to jump right in. I was nervous to leave food out on my counter for a week the first time I tried making sauerkraut, but there's no denying the wisdom of nature! Once you try fermenting once and see how easy it really is, you'll be hooked.
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Directions1. Cut the cabbage in half and remove 1-2 clean outer leaves. Reserve.
2. Shred half of the head of cabbage finely using the slicing attachment of a food processor (you can also slice or shred manually). Grate the carrots and the beet, finely grate the ginger and garlic, and add everything to a large mixing bowl along with the turmeric powder and apple cider vinegar.
3. With your hands (you may want to wear plastic gloves to avoid orange hands), mix all of the ingredients together, squeezing firmly to release some of the juices from the veggies. Pack the mixture tightly into a glass jar, leaving a few inches of space from the top.
4. Dissolve the salt into the water, and pour the brine over the cabbage mixture that you''ve packed into the glass jar. Poke some holes using a knife or chopstick to get the saltwater all the way to the bottom of the jar and incorporated into the mix. Pour just enough water to cover the cabbage mixture.
5. Pack the mixture down again until it is fully submerged, and cover with part of the reserved cabbage leaf (this helps shield the kraut from oxygen in the jar as it ferments).
6. Seal the jar loosely with a plastic lid, or cover with a kitchen towel and a rubber band, and place in a warm spot in the kitchen for 5-7 days. If you are using a plastic lid, you can â€œburpâ€ the kraut every couple of days by loosening the lid (this will release any built up gasses inside the jar). You know you have a good ferment when you see and hear bubbles within the kraut. A good probiotic-rich kraut will have a fizzy taste to it, similar to champagne. Finished sauerkraut will keep in the fridge for several months.