Cabbage is abundant and inexpensive in the summer, and making sauerkraut with this seasonal veggie is easier than you might think. Plus, it offers nutritional benefits long into the fall and winter (it can keep for months in your refrigerator).
Fermented foods like sauerkraut provide helpful bacteria and digestive enzymes that support a healthy microbiome. (For more on fermentation, see “Discover Fermented Foods” .) Enjoy it on its own or add a burst of flavor to eggs, grilled meats, or your favorite wraps.
This simple fermented classic can boost your digestive health.
- Select and slice. Choose a large head of cabbage (any type, about 3 pounds). Discard wilted leaves, then reserve one to three crisp outer leaves. Thinly slice the remaining cabbage.
- Salt and squeeze. Mix the sliced cabbage with 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of sea salt in a large bowl. Squeeze the mixture with clean hands for five to eight minutes, or until it breaks down and releases its juices.
- Pack and seal. Pack the cabbage mixture into a clean Mason jar firmly enough that it’s completely submerged in its own liquid. Place the reserved outer leaves on top to hold it down. Seal with a lid, and place the jar on a countertop out of direct sunlight.
- Wait and watch. Your sauerkraut may be ready in as little as three days or in several weeks. Watch for bubbles, foam, and mold — that’s the fermentation at work! Occasionally “burp” the jar by slowly opening the lid to release gas buildup. Skim off any mold to ensure the growth of the beneficial bacteria.
- Taste and refrigerate. Taste test after three days and then sample it every few days until you’re satisfied with the flavor, which can range from tangy to sour. When your desired flavor is achieved, discard the top leaves, reseal, and refrigerate.