This is a basic staple in any real food home. Fermented cabbage — sauerkraut — is a traditional food eaten all over the world. It is readily available in grocery stores, but unfortunately, most is no longer made the traditional way. Commonly, store bought sauerkraut is pickled in vinegar and sugar and may also have preservatives. While there are some companies that make it the traditional way, they still have to heat the product if it is in a jar. That kills the beneficial bacteria. The whole point of fermented food is that it is alive! We should be eating living foods. You just need to get over the fear of not doing it right. It’s very hard to make a mistake with this recipe!
Cabbage is embedded with bacteria so you do not really need to use starter. If you do not use a starter culture, you need to use salt in order to preserve the cabbage until the bacteria take over. Either way works fine. I just started to use a culture starter and I actually like the taste of the cabbage better with minimal salt. You can add other chopped or grated vegetables or herbs for different flavors and interest. This is a simple basic recipe but really anything goes with fermented vegetables!
As with any new venture in cultured foods, start with very small portions and gradually increase the portion size and frequency. You don’t want to overwhelm your digestive system with too much good bacteria all at once. Traditionally, cultured foods were used as condiments — small portions to accompany a meal.
It’s my goal to eat a small portion of a cultured food at each meal, as this provides enzymes as well as beneficial bacteria. I do like the sauerkraut sprinkled on my salad!
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