Sauerkraut is a staple of our home, and when we realized how much fun it is to make, we never looked back. Sauerkraut is a wonderful food that can help bring more healthful herbs into you life. Sauerkraut can be made with cabbage and salt alone, but you can get delicious and varied flavors with the additional boost of herbal medicine. Here are some simple suggestions to get your started:
Need a little digestive aid? Go for CARMINATIVE herbs like Fennel, Cumin, Caraway and/or Coriander.
Need a little circulation boost? Try WARMING herbs like Ginger and Cayenne Pepper.
Want to support your body’s natural immune system? Include alliums like leeks, onions, and garlic.
Want to add some prebiotic inulin? Add dandelion and burdock roots (relatively easy to find at “health” grocery stores and Japanese markets, burdock is sometimes call “gobo”)
Get creative and go wild! Yum!
BASE RECIPE (from Adam Elabd’s fantastic book: Fermenting Food, Step by Step)
1 Medium head of cabbage
1 TB of Salt
1 2-quart jar
- Remove one whole outer cabbage leaf and set aside. Cut cabbage in half and remove core. Slice the entire cabbage into fine ribbons, about 1/4” wide.
- In a medium bowl, combine cabbage and salt and mix well to distribute salt evenly.
- With your hands, massage the cabbage shreds, mashing and squeezing until the cabbage releases a significant amount of liquid.
- Add herbs and spices, if using, and blend well.
- Transfer the mixture to your jar, and press down until all solids are below the liquid line.
- Insert fermentation weight, if using (I love our friend Sienna’s handmade ceramic weights – they’ve taken my fermenting to the next level!)
- Screw on the lid, then release it one-eighth of a turn to allow gases to escape during the fermentation process.
- Set the jar on a plate and out of direct sunlight. Allow to ferment at room temperature for at least 5 days. Refrigerate once satisfied with the level of fermentation and flavor.
What are some of your favorite herbs to add to your kraut?
Proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, gardener, advocate for la tierra buena, and professional belly laugher, I strive to live my life with purpose and joy. After years of chronic illness and self-destructive habits, my life changed in an instant when a clinician offered me a bottle of herbal extract as medicine in 2009. Since then, I’ve been amazed time and again by the effectiveness and power of nature’s medicine.
Motivated by the ever-quickening loss of our intricate web of life, I am often a passionate (and sometimes frank) voice for local, regenerative herbalism in the name of earth renewal. I strongly believe that a village herbalist belongs in every community and am happy to support this dream’s birth in to reality.