Recipe: Fermented Cabbage Juice

March 18, 2012 · 54 comments

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After some hesitation, I’ve started to drink fermented cabbage juice. I know that may sound somewhat vile, but it actually tastes very good and is an incredibly powerful food. Vitamin U is the compound in cabbage juice that has tremendous healing properties.  Much like Dr. Price’s X Factor (identified as vitamin K2), Vitamin U has since been identified as S methylmethionine (SMM). There are many reasons to drink fermented cabbage juice. It’s something to get excited about!

Reasons to love cabbage juice

Some of these reasons include:

  • Protection against cancer
  • Effective against Candida Albicans
  • Effective for ulcers
  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties

Cabbage juice and cabbage leaves are folk remedies for all sorts of things. The leaves were used as poultices for reducing inflammation.

Nutrients in cabbage juice

Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of glutamine, an amino acid found in great abundance in the intestine, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

It is a source of indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, which is converted to DIM in the intestine. Indole-3-carbinol is also a powerful antioxidant that supports liver detoxification and speeds up the breakdown of estrogen.

Fermented cabbage juice is a superlative healing food

Taking the healing properties of raw cabbage juice one step further, the process of fermenting the cabbage juice adds to it’s tremendous healing powers by adding billions of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, vitamins and minerals produced by the microflora.

It supports liver detoxification, so it’s very appropriate to use in this Detox Challenge. It is also used in the very beginning stages of the GAPS Intro. Fermented cabbage juice is loaded with beneficial bacteria and nutrients that are pre-digested. These nutrients are so easy to digest, people with very serious intestinal disorders can tolerate it.

It may seem intimidating at first but it really is as easy as making kefir or kombucha. Once you get the hang of it and know how it should taste — you’re good to go.

Fermented Cabbage Juice

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of organic green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups of filtered or distilled water (just be sure the water has no chlorine by boiling for 30 minutes or leaving it out for 24 hours)
  • You may also add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon culture starter but this is optional — it will culture without these — however the salt does make it taste good

Equipment

  • A blender
  • A quart jar and lid

Instructions

  1. Fill the blender with chopped cabbage
  2. Add 1 3/4 cups of water
  3. Blend carefully by starting at low speed and then to high for 10 seconds or less — you don’t want puree, you want small pieces
  4. Pour blended mixture in the jar making sure it is at least 1 inch from the top for expansion
  5. Cover the jar securely with the lid
  6. Let mixture stand at room temperature for 3 days (around 72 degrees F)
  7. After 3 days strain to separate  juice and pulp
  8. Place fermented cabbage juice in the refrigerator
  9. When the supply gets low, (or immediately after the first ferment is ready to drink) start a new batch by using the same procedure but adding ½ cup of the previous batch of fermented juice to 1 1/2 cups water and 3 cups of cabbage blended as above
  10. The second batch will only have to stand at room temperature for 24 hours before being ready, because of the starter added — then refrigerate

Drink 1/2 cup of this solution diluted with an equal part of water 2 or 3 times each day and you will realize the vitamin enriched, curative powers of fermented cabbage juice.

As with any fermented food, work your way up very slowly to the desired amount. You might start with just a tablespoon of the juice at each meal. This will help with digestion. Add one or two tablespoons of the juice to broth that has been cooled off. It adds nutrients and an interesting dimension to the flavor.

Note: Cruciferous vegetables (known as goitrogens) should never be eaten raw, because of the displacement of iodine and the potential effect on the thyroid. Cooking decreases the negative effects, but it is not clear how fermenting the juice affects it — some articles reference that fermenting soy actually increases the goitrogenic effects of that particular food.

If you suffer from any thyroid condition you would want to consult your health care provider before proceeding with regular use of fermented cabbage juice, especially in the amounts indicated above.

Note: You may actually ferment the cabbage for more than 3 days. I have left it (just forgot about it) for 2 weeks and it was fine — good actually. Although some companies ferment their cabbage and other vegetables for 2 weeks, others ferment for 2 months in order to achieve what they call a full ferment. There is a lot of microbiology involved in fermentation and many people have various opinions about how long to ferment.

Purchasing fermented juices

If you would rather purchase fermented vegetables and fermented juices click here.

Join the Detox Challenge!

Related articles:

6 reasons to Drink Fermented Cabbage Juice

8 Reasons to Add Probiotic Foods to Your Diet

Lactofermentation as Preservative: Old as the Hills

This post is shared at: My Meatless Monday, Celebration Sunday, Melt in Mouth Monday. Monday Mania, Real Food 101, Meatless Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Barnyard Hop, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday Tidbits, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday Naptime, Tasty Tuesday 33, Traditional Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Sustainable Ways, Whole Food Wednesday, Healthy 2 Day, Real Food Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, Creative Juice Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Cultured Gathering

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linnae March 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Thanks Jill! This is very informative and I really want to try this. :) I noticed cabbage was on sale at my local health food store this week!!!

Reply

2 Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network March 19, 2012 at 8:12 am

Thank you for sharing this fascinating article on fermented cabbage juice with us on Seasonal Celebration- next week you should return to a super fast site!
Warmly, Rebecca x

Reply

3 Lisa's Counter Culture March 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Actually fermented cabbage is one of the most complicated ferments – cabbage will initially produce some toxins that you don’t want to be ingesting – that’s why cabbage requires a much longer ferment duration. Caldwells (Wise Choice Market) does it correctly – in an anaerobic environment – which a mason jar is no where near acceptable and they keep it at lower temps – 72 is the absolute high it should be exposed to – than it needs a long curing time at lower temps – at least 5 to 6 weeks.

For GAPs followers this is critical – you do not want to introduce pathogenic and undesirable bacteria and yeast into your already taxed digestive tract.
Try a Pickl-it jar – a great vessel for proper fermenting with no toxins in the components. http://www.pickl-it.com

Lisa of lisascounterculture.com

Reply

4 Jill March 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Hi Lisa,
I see that you teach fermentation classes and sell the pickl-it jars. You make a good point — I always ferment my sauerkraut for a couple of months — I think it tastes better.

Several of the small fermentation companies that are vendors at Weston Price conferences have taught, repeatedly, that they ferment for 2 weeks. But the option is there to ferment longer. No one has ever mentioned that cabbage is more complicated and requires a longer ferment.

Even in Nourishing Traditions, Sally instructs to ferment cabbage in a mason jar for 3 days. Then cold storage.

How do you know that there are “initial toxins”? I have not seen this written anywhere.

I do agree with you about Wise Choice. Their sauerkraut juice is from cabbage that is fermented for 2 months and it is very mellow.

I have also used this recipe and let it go for maybe 2 weeks (simple forgot about it) and it was really good — better than after 3 days.

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5 Charlotte March 21, 2012 at 6:00 am

Hi Jill, Lisa raised the same concerns over on GAPs help yahoo group following your posting the link there. This has raised quite a storm! If you haven’t been following the thread, you might like to have a read and see what you make of it all.

Reply

6 Natalia March 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

You don’t use any starter for the initial fermentation? Salt, whey, etc.?

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7 Jill March 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Hi Natalia,
You don’t need to use salt or starter, but you can if you want to.

Reply

8 Debbie March 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Jill -

HOW does it begin fermenting without a starter or whey? Just water and salt? Doesn’t make sense to me?

Reply

9 Jill March 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Hi Debbie,
Cabbage has tons of bacteria inherent in the leaves. Many people make sauerkraut without starter. The salt just protects it from decay until the inherent bacteria take over.

Reply

10 Dharmender March 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Is there a reason not to put any salt in the cabbage juice? Will it work without salt?

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11 Dharmender March 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Sorry I didn’t see the question above.

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12 Susan with Permanent Posies March 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I can’t say I was jumping for joy…haha. However, I would try it. You have great info.

Reply

13 Swathi March 22, 2012 at 12:46 am

Nice way to make fermented cabbage juice in home. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

Reply

14 Serena March 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! Looks delicious.

Momtrends

Reply

15 Adrienne @ Whole New Mom March 26, 2012 at 11:54 am

Thanks for stopping by at Allergy-Free Wednesday. Hope to see you later this week!

Reply

16 Shannon March 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

LOL, I have to admit, this one made me do a double take, not sure I could get cabbage down. Maybe if I could mix it in diet Coke. ;o)

Thanks for linking up to Friday Food at Momtrends.com!

Reply

17 Lydia July 20, 2012 at 5:55 am

Is it ok for expectanct mothers to take femented cabbage juice?

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18 Andi July 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

should i be smelling the fermenting cabbage? it’s only been 2 days so i still have 24 hours to go. i did use a mason jar. thanks for any suggestions.

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19 Ms McCoy July 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Why can’t we drink the pulp/fiber?

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20 Jason September 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Can you put the cabbage in a juicer and then take the juice and pulp – then ferment it?

Reply

21 Jill September 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Hi Jason,
Possibly. I never tried that.

Reply

22 Sarah October 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Caroline Baringer on the GAPS Cooking DVD juices a cabbage and then adds a starter and ferments the juice on it’s own.

I can’t find anywhere that says how to know when cabbage juice has ‘gone over’. How long does it last in the fridge, and how can you tell? If it’s gone off can you still use it to add to new juice?

Look forward to a reply,

Sarah

Reply

23 Jill October 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Hi Sarah,
I think you will know by the taste. It will be nasty. Yes, you could juice a cabbage and ferment the juice with starter and salt.

Reply

24 Sandy October 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Is it sold in Whole Foods?

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26 Susanne A. September 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Just made the most fantastic soup EVER !!! The cabage from the juice with, som almond milk and 2 avocado + garlic and onion powder and a sprinkel of paprika and a tiny pinch off seasalt.Then 2 slices holegrain sandwich bread toasted in some olive oil.
So thank you so much to mother earth and the recipe on this page.

Reply

27 Carol G October 11, 2013 at 6:33 am

Thanks for the great info, especially on the effects of goitegens. I have Hashimoto’s and there is little info out there concerning the effects of fermented brassica family veggies on the thyroid. I have always cooked that family of veggies and wanted to eat them cultured but was wondering if the process of fermentation would make them safe for me to eat. It is a shame because the many docs I have asked about it get the look of deer in headlights when I start discussing this topic. I will continue to search for a doc in the know, but so far have not had any luck. At least my present doc is receptive to the idea and Imhave shared some of my kefir grains with her. Do you have any suggestions as to what veggies would still offer the probiotics when cultured without my worrying about how they would affect the thyroid? Thanks!

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28 Susanne A. November 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

When the juice are ready for use,mix:

1 cup of the cabage
+
2 cup.almond milk
+
Blend until smoothe,and ad some, onion + garlic powder +,seasalt if needed and serve it with a drissel of paprika.

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