If I say “sauerkraut”, most people have one of two reactions: they either love it or they hate it.
This food polarizes a crowd almost as quickly as
And I have a confession to make: for years I was one of those people who hated it.
I just didn’t understand what was so great about stinky, slimy, stringy cabbage sitting in its own juices.
Then, I went to naturopathic medical school, and like so many other things in my life, my perspective shifted.
I learned about how fantastic fermented foods are for your gut health and the health benefits of cabbage, and I decided to give sauerkraut another try.
This time, I made my own, and I LOVED it. It tasted completely different — fresh, zingy, and bright. I couldn’t get enough of it!
Now I always have a batch of sauerkraut fermenting somewhere in my house, and today I hope to inspire you to do the same!
Fermented foods are some of the easiest foods to make, hands down. There’s no special skill required and for sauerkraut two ingredients — cabbage and salt — will get you a delectable result!
So come on a
Check out my video to learn:
- All the great and surprising ways fermented foods improve our health
- Why cabbage is a little-known super food and why it should be a staple in everyone's diet
- How to make your own sauerkraut, complete with equipment recommendations and pro-tips from a seasoned kraut maker
NOURISH YOUR GUT WITH THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAKING SAUERKRAUT
All the tools, tips, herbs, steps, and my insider secrets to making tasty, gut-nourishing sauerkraut. How to get the perfect shred, problem free fermentation, delicious flavor additions, and more...
I hope you feel comfortable and confident in making your own sauerkraut! It is truly delicious!
It's also a really fun project to get a group together and make, or to give as gifts to people who you know would appreciate some fermented goodness!
BONUS TIP: Some books recommend resting your kraut on a cookie sheet in case of any excessive bubbling (bubbling is a good thing!) happens and your container overflows.
I've never had a ferment leak, but I also prefer the low and slow approach to fermentation.
So, if you're leaving something in a warmer place, it might be a good idea/safety measure for your shelf or countertop to set the jar on a plate or cookie sheet.
Links I Mentioned in the video
My favorite fermentation book: Fermented Vegetables by Christopher and Kirsten Shockey
Full Video Transcript
What's the deal? Why is it so good for you? Why do we keep hearing about fermented foods like they're the new super food?
Well, they're actually the old super food. And today we're gonna talk about why fermented foods are so amazing for you and how to make your own Sauerkraut.
So why are fermented foods so fabulous for us? I'm sure heard a ton about them. There's always new articles, new recipes coming out for them nowadays. I just wanted to dive in a little bit into this mystery and give you some clear ideas as to why they're so beneficial for us, why I love them and eat them all the time, and then how to make your own, right? I wanted to start out with the most basic. So how to make your own sauerkraut. This is my own jar that's been fermenting for a few months now in a cool dark place in my house.
So let's jump in here. So fermented foods, and why I said they are the old super food, they're not really a new super food, is because we have been fermenting things as long as humans had food on this planet. I mean it's been a really, really long historical tradition that's only getting revived lately. I'm sure some of you even have grandmothers or mothers or great grandparents that would ferment their own sauerkraut or their own vegetables.
So it comes from a really, really basic need that we had in number one is preservation. So we didn't have fridges back then, we didn't have the same cleanliness standards. It was a little bit dirtier and grimier, which could actually a little unhealthier for us depending on what was in the soil.
So fermented foods are a wonderful way to preserve foods. So not only do they keep forever, as long as they're stored in a cool, dark place. They're wonderful in terms of safety, in terms of food eating. So we'll get into that. That's a little combination with probiotics.
If something was fermented, we knew that it was safe to eat because the good bacteria start to outnumber and outgrow the bad bacteria. That was a massive boon to our ancestors. We hear about Vikings drinking mead all the time and maybe Middle Ages folks drinking beer a lot. Of course, Irish women using Guinness during pregnancy as a nutritional drink because it's high in B vitamins, which it is.
But if you think about it, those fermented beverages and foods were safe because of their lack of bad bacteria, because the fermentation process guarantees the growth of good bacteria that's gonna help out our immune system, our digestion, our skin health, helps the auto-immune disease or anti-inflammatory, all kinds of amazing things.
So not only do we get those health benefits, but we also get the peace of mind knowing that drinking and eating these things were safe for us and they weren't going to give us a food-borne illness, which could be deadly back then if there was a lot of dehydration that happened, or you weren't able to eat over the long-term for a certain reason.
Fermented foods have played a really important part in our history and unfortunately, only recently have we kind of gotten out of using them with all the pasteurization techniques and the fear around microbes. Which unfortunately, yes, there are some bad bacteria and some pathogenic ones, absolutely.
But a lot of them are really, really important for our health and we're discovering more and more about that and the fermented foods have been around forever, helping out our health overall in not only keeping us, also keeping us safe. Preservation important in the old days, important now. You can make, you can ferment things, vegetables. You can even ferment fruits and they can be delicious and they can keep for many long months over the winter. Maybe not totally necessary since we have a lot of food around all the time, but if your favorite thing goes out of season, feel free to pickle it, preserve it this way.
I think another really important note about the preservation technique here is that we use or I use a lacto-fermented technique, which does not involve dairy even though it sounds like it does. So a lot of things that we buy in the store that we might think are fermented, I think the most common is pickles, is actually preserved in vinegar, which does not encourage probiotic or good bacteria growth.
So it does preserve things, but it's not the same as a simple salt fermentation, which is what lacto-fermented is. Lacto refers to the good bacteria that get to grow ... Sorry. The lactobacillus that grow. So lactobacillus is that really important probiotic that it likes a little bit of acidic environment.
The fermented foods are definitely a little bit tangy and acidic and that's the one that we have the most research on to-date about how it helps all of those benefits that I mentioned before with skin health, GI health, immune system, all of that great stuff. The nice thing about fermented food, too is that they can grow a lot of different strains of the lactobacillus and other bacteria. They can be quite potent.
They're a wonderful, medicinal, delicious thing to eat daily instead of maybe taking a probiotic supplement. Sometimes the probiotic supplements are really helpful especially if you got an acute medical condition going on or maybe your doctor or naturopath has recommended them. I did do a video on how to pick out a good probiotic if you're not sure how to and I'll put a link to that in the comments or the notes below.
But eating fermented foods daily can really help get that probiotic concentration up for you. Of course, it's not just sauerkraut, you can do kombucha, there's something called water kefir, which is easy to make, too. Maybe I'll do a video on that in the future. Yeah, vegetables, they can be fermented grains, or fermented dairy, of course, with kefir and yogurt. So there's a lot of different options and different products to get into your diet. It would be amazing to try to eat some of our fermented food everyday to get your dose of probiotics and keep that immune system and GI up and working.
Another benefit is increased absorption. So the cool thing about fermenting is that it actually it breaks down the food a little bit and it makes its nutrients more bio-available and easy to absorb, which is fabulous. It's good for all of us, but it's especially wonderful if we've got any active GI conditions that maybe we already have trouble absorbing to begin with.
So the increased absorption factor just increases its nutrient density for you. You get a lot out of these fermented foods. There is one population of GI folks that it would ... That fermented foods are not usually recommended for, which is those with histamine intolerance, which is a very, very specific and small subset of the population.
But fermented foods are high in histamine so they can kind of trigger some issues around that. If you know you have a histamine intolerance that's the one time that I would not recommend eating fermented foods. But otherwise, man, have at it. Go for it. They are tasty.
Then fourth, they're very budget-friendly. This cabbage I mean was a couple of bucks. That's it. You know, I had to get a jar, but that's all there is to it. And most of the time when you look for fermented foods in the grocery store, now there's a lot more coming out with like kimchi that's outside of just Asian markets. Sauerkraut, asparagus, all kinds of things.
It can be quite spendy for a little amount because the trick with fermented foods is that they have to have time to ferment and that is expensive if you're not able just to make something as a food manufacturer and send it out the door. If it has to sit around and age and ferment appropriately then it's gonna cost more in the store. So making your own ferments is fabulous. It's super cost-effective. It's just pennies on the price of what you would pay in the store. Then you also get to decide how long you want to let things ferment, which is fantastic. I've read studies that showed that a month is kind of the minimum amount of time you want to let it ferment to really build up the great bacterial cultures.
Many books I read also say go ahead and eat it after a week. So it really varies. Personally, I think it tastes much better if it's been fermented for at least a month. Again, the fermentation depends on your conditions so if it's in a warmer space it's gonna ferment faster, and if it's in a cooler space it's gonna ferment slower.
So I typically do a cool, dark space just like you might know your grandparents would bury their sauerkraut crock underground, cool, dark. That's how I like to do it, too. I have fermented things a little bit warmer, but I don't know. I kind of like it in that cool, dark, low, slow place. You have to stay on top of it if you're making it and you really love it because you have to have about a month lead time.
But that's the beautiful thing about ferments, too. It's really individual, there's no super strict set way to do it or recipe. I will certainly give you a recipe for how I make my Sauerkraut, but it's adaptable and it's a make-it-your-own type of thing, adapt it to your own taste and preferences. So okay, let's move on from the fermented foods.
I wanted to talk a little bit about cabbage. I feel like cabbage is an unsung hero of the vegetable community. It's really kind of just, I don't know, pushed off to the side and I don't know. I have this memory of ... Did you guys ever watch the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory growing up, where the grandparents were all sitting in bed and they had cabbage soup and that's all they were eating? That sounded really gross to me when I was little. That's been my association with cabbage until I really started making sauerkraut.
So I get it if it seems a little bit off putting, but you know, feel free to put those prejudices aside if you have them and look at cabbage in a new light. Cabbage is really fantastic. I think most people don't realize that it's part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which includes ones that get a lot of press about being super healthy for us like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, right? Of course, we see kale everywhere nowadays.
So the cruciferous vegetable group is incredibly important for us. So I've written here that it has sulfur compounds such as one of the many things that the cruciferous vegetables have for us. But the sulfur compounds, in particular, are fabulous for liver health, for joint health, for hormonal health. They're super, super important.
Oftentimes, if there's specific hormonal imbalances for women I will recommend eating more cruciferous vegetables and just doing that sometimes that can balance it significantly. So they are powerful stuff. Cabbage is quite antioxidant-rich so even just the green cabbage. You know, I think we think of antioxidants as oh, my gosh, it has to be dark red or black or this blue. That kind of tells us how many antioxidants are in there. That's actually not true, those are kind of the ones that we see the most often. But they've done research on even white potatoes and found that white potatoes have antioxidants. They just maybe aren't as colorful as some of the other ones. So green cabbage is the same way.
Red cabbage of course, antioxidant-rich. Just a different type of antioxidant. So the antioxidants of course, are gonna be cancer preventative, anti-inflammatory, wonderful overall. The main purpose of an antioxidant is to scavenge free radicals, which are produced my metabolic reactions in our body all the time, not just cancer.
So antioxidants are just such a wonderful thing to have in your diet overall, and they're really gonna help blood vessel health as well. Antioxidants are incredibly important to the circulatory system health. So another really amazing thing about cabbage, this is kind of an old-timey naturopathic trick or remedy, is that it's glutamine-rich.
So glutamine is the food that your GI cells prefer more than anything. They just eat it up and it helps them restore and regenerate all the time, which is great because they're put through a lot with all these digestive assets and enzymes and foods that might be irritating. Those cells will turn over quite quickly so glutamine is incredibly important and it's a wonderful way to heal up GI issues. It's used in many, many applications and an old time naturopathic treatment for heartburn and for ulcers was to drink cabbage juice, which sounds really good, doesn't it? It still works. It's not that it's old-timey because it's outdated, it's just old-timey because it was around for a long time and a lot of people don't really want to drink cabbage juice.
I have had people do it and it really, really works, so again, bonus tip, if you have an ulcer or irritation try some cabbage juice. It really does work. There are other ways to get glutamine of course, too, but then you're just getting glutamine and now the other good stuff that comes along with cabbage juice with those sulfur compounds and antioxidants among other things.
So yeah, cabbage is also very fiber-rich, which of course, is really important to our digestive health. It has both those digestible and indigestible starches that are super important. The indigestible, in particular, is wonderful for the colon. It helps the bacteria there to produce the short-chain fatty acids that are really important for colon health so fiber is crucial and this cabbage is a superstar for fiber.
I hope I changed your mind a little bit about cabbage. Then maybe you'll give it a shot. I actually prefer green cabbage in my sauerkraut. The red is good, it just has a very different flavor. I think maybe I just haven't quite found the right spice combination to go with the red. Usually that can stand up to a little bit more stronger or stronger spicing, maybe like caraway seed and mustard seed. That type of thing is pretty nice with the red.
The green I love doing dill and lemon and that's actually what we're gonna do here. You can see the dill in it as well. It's amazing, it's super delicious. So but yeah, the green, I don't know, it just tastes better to me. But feel free to experiment with your own and hopefully you'll have some good ideas how to make your own after this video.
Okay, so let's do a little overview before we go into actually making it. By the way, I will have a little link to getting to the recipe, I should have said that earlier, in the comment section or the note section so you can jump right to that if you would like. But I also think learning about cabbage is pretty cool, right?
Okay, so how to make kraut. So it's seriously this simple. It's great and again, this is not a recipe that I have specific quantities for. It's really tough, I think, when things you know, talk about like oh, half a head of cabbage or three quarters of a head or whatever it is. Then I end up wasting the whatever is left, which I don't like to do. I'll forget about it. So I will just use whatever amount of cabbage that I have, one head, two heads, great. Okay, fabulous.
Because sauerkraut it's just all about proportion and you do taste as you go along so as long as it tastes good, that is the ideal. That's fantastic. So shred the cabbage. I use a little food processor that I'll show you a little bit later to get it really fine. I prefer mine pretty fine.
Then number two is salt and season. This is where you're salting to taste. I will give you general guidelines about like well, if you have about this much cabbage, this is probably what you want to use for salt. I do have to say that one time I made it just based on the recipe with a certain quantity of cabbage and a certain quantity of salt. And it was really, really over-salted like I couldn't even eat it. It was so over-salted.
So since I've been using this method and just following my own taste preferences. It works really, really well and then you'll have something super tasty that you want to eat. So you add your salt and seasonings. Then the third step is to knead so you are actually kind of working the cabbage with the salt and the dill and you're creating liquid.
So that's really important. You want enough liquid and juice to come out of the cabbage that you create kind of a line where your kraut will sit under. That's why it's really important to use fresh cabbage as well because it has a lot more water in it. If it's old, it doesn't have as much water and it's a little bit harder to get more juice out in those plant cells broken down.
Then we're gonna pack it down so again, talking about that water line. It's super simple, we just use cabbage leaves and I have some rocks here. They're also specific fermentation weights that you can use. I just happen to like these rocks, I'm kind of sentimentally attached to them. I got them off the beach just down the way from my house and boiled them.
Personally, I think the sauerkraut tastes better with them. That might sound crazy, but I do. If you use glass weights it doesn't taste as good. I don't get it, maybe it's the minerals in the rock, whatever. I'm gonna keep using the rocks. Then so the fifth one is just to store it, is that we have to wait for it to ferment. So a week minimum usually. If it's warmer where you were, a week could be totally sufficient. Then yeah, I just do it in a cool, dark place. Let it go, let it do its thing.
You can see how it breaks down and change its color. You can see bubbles come to the surface, which shows you that fermentation process has happened. That is really it. It is so, so simple and so delicious. I must confess that I did not Sauerkraut before I made my own, which is kind of crazy. But I really didn't. The store-bought stuff had this kind of weird, earthy, funky taste to me.
But the stuff that I've made myself is bright and tangy and just really vibrant and delicious. And I love it, it's a perfect condiment for so many things. This one is clearly savory. There are sweet things you can ferment as well to be able to add them to dessert sort of snacks, but yeah, it's incredibly versatile and incredibly good for your health. Okay, all right. Well, let's get to that recipe.
Okay, guys. Here we are in my kitchen. We're gonna dive in to making sauerkraut. So I am just gonna run you through all the things that I have set out here. So let's start with the ingredients. We've got cabbage, I have this lovely, green cabbage head, which I ... I just like green cabbage for my sauerkraut, like I said before. I think it tastes really, really lovely, sea salt and dill. That is it. That is our ingredient list. So pretty darn simple.
So I'm gonna take you through all the tools that I have on hand here. I've got my lovely KitchenAid food processor and the specific centerpiece that I'm gonna use is this guy here to put on in. So it's not the usual blade that you would see. Then we've got this special shredder top there.
I really like my cabbage finely shredded rather than large. I'll show you the other blade that comes with it. I've used this one before, but you can see how much bigger that will make the cabbage. It's much chunkier thing. It breaks down a little bit less. You have to knead a lot more. I think it's a little bit harder to eat so I do generally prefer that shredder blade.
Then I'll take you back over this way. I've got my mixing bowl. So this is a pretty darn small head of cabbage that I am probably going to ... From experience, I know that it'll probably fit in here to mix in and knead. You can see the size of my hand here with my cabbage. It's probably only a couple of pounds. It's about half the size, I would say, as I usually see. Okay, so we've got the KitchenAid mixer and then we've got the top so we're gonna put the cabbage right through here.
Fun story about the mixer. I have had this for about 12 years. It really, really endures. They are a little bit expensive, but this was my idea of fun in college. I worked a job at a fitness center my junior year over the summer and this is what I've decided to spend my money on. This and a Vitamix blender. That is how crazy I was in college, you guys. So I haven't really changed much, as you can see.
So okay, moving on, so this is my jar that I am gonna store the Sauerkraut in. You can see that it has a rubber gasket, a glass jar. You don't want plastic in the ball jars. I have used occasionally, but unfortunately because it's a metal screw top, the salt can corrode it. So I really highly recommend these jars that you can get all over. I believe this one is two quarts. I have a giant one, I think I have a three-quart one that I showed you earlier in the video.
This might hold all of it, it might not, but we'll just go with it. It's why I always have multiple containers around because I'm never sure how much I'm gonna make just because I go based on the size of the cabbage head rather than buy a certain like cup amount of cabbage. These are my rocks. These are my stones that I'm gonna use to weigh down the Sauerkraut to ferment it well. So I do gather these from my local beach and boiled them so they should be sanitized and yeah, I'm really excited. All right, so that's our general overview here. Let's dive into the action part.
Okay, so here we are on our chopping phase. So I wanted to show you a little bit about what I did first. So the very first thing you want to do is take off the two outer leaves of the cabbage or more, especially if the cabbage is old or you need to take off some outer leaves just to make it pretty and clean it up.
So these are gonna be really important. They're gonna play a role in helping us submerge the Sauerkraut. We're actually gonna put this in over the top of the sauerkraut and then put the rocks on top of this. So this forms a nice barrier. So these are pretty nice big leaves that stayed intact so those are perfect. Then you can see that I've started to chop off the cabbage here and I've done it in kind of small slices, small slices there.
The only criteria here is that they're small enough to be able to fit into the food processor here. So you can see I can probably fit a couple here. You certainly don't have to use a food processor. I just happen to have one on hand and I found it super useful. If you do chop it by hand just make sure it's small enough and something that you might actually want to eat size-wise, right? So something like this, a couple of inches long and small might be appropriate.
You just don't want it to be long and stringy and really thick and make it not fun to it. So we're gonna use the entire cabbage except for the core here. You can see the core that we're gonna cut around because that's way too fibrous to try to add in so we just cut around that and use the rest of the cabbage. All right, so I'm gonna go ahead and get these all chopped up and then we'll move on to the next step.
Okay, so you can see that I've got all my cabbage chopped up back over here. And I'm just gonna show you how to use this food processor. It's very simple. So we have the maximum amount loaded up there. I'm gonna turn it on, it's gonna be very loud. I'm not gonna shred all the cabbage here, but yes, so I'm gonna turn it on and you can do on or pulse if you have that setting.
We're just gonna push down this way. So here we go. Great. Okay. So you can see some of the cabbage sometimes get stuck because they have a very high moisture content, but that's just fine. You can see how fine we're shredding the cabbage here. So I'm gonna go ahead and go do the rest of this. And then I'll meet you back here.
All right. So on to our next step. You can see that I've got all of my cabbage that's fully shredded in this bowl. So this bowl ended up being a nice size. Again, this was a pretty small head of cabbage. It almost filled up the food processor bowl. Sometimes if the cabbage is large enough I have to empty the bowl in the food processor and put it in here, shred the rest of the cabbage and put it all in here or a larger bowl. So the rest of our ingredients we're gonna add here.
I got about a tablespoon of salt for this amount of cabbage to start off with. Again, it's nice because you just season it to taste. So this is all a guess. I'm guessing this is gonna be light, but the important thing is to start light and then add more if you need because especially with salt it can just be a little too much too quickly.
So we're just gonna dump that on in here. Good, okay. Then we're gonna add our dill as well. That's my main seasoning I'd like to add. Sometimes I'll add a little bit of lemon juice as well. Garlic can be okay, too but just watch it with the garlic, it can get very, very strong. That's it. So now the next step we're gonna do, the main step here, is we're gonna start kneading.
We're gonna distribute the salt and the dill all throughout the bowl as much as we can here. This is a couple of minute process, maybe five to 10 or so. So you're gonna squeeze it. It's kind of you're just picking it up and squeezing it. The idea is that you're really breaking down the cell wall that's left in the cabbage to release its juices because we want this cabbage to be pretty darn juicy so we can put it in the container and have the liquid cover all of this.
It's not the end of the world if you don't have that much juice come out. You just have to watch it and make sure because usually if there's enough liquid to cover all of the cabbage then you're ensured that it's gonna go bad or rancid or have something strange happen.
So you might be wondering why I'm wearing gloves. You certainly don't have to. I'm wearing gloves for a few reasons. One, I always forget to take the cabbage out of the fridge beforehand so it is really, really cold on my hands. This is a paltry excuse for a layer, but so pro tip, take the cabbage out of the fridge and let it rest for a few minutes. Then also I was gardening today and I washed my hands, but there's definitely still some dirt near the nails so I like to use the gloves just for that purpose, make sure it stays really clean because we haven't built up the good probiotic cultures yet.
Then you know, I have these around my house, like all over the place because I use it for patients. They're just easy, they are just right there. Okay, great. So we are getting a little bit of moisture. I don't know if you guys can see that. We'll move it this way. We're not there yet, but at some point it will be pulling and I'll certainly show you that. So this is kind of a nice initial knead here that we've got going. I am going to actually kind of stop and taste things and season to taste that way. So I'll do that and then we'll keep kneading.
All right, so I've been kneading the cabbage for probably about four or five minutes. I did taste it using a clean tasting spoon here. I think the salt was actually right on. I ended up adding probably about a half a tablespoon more dill. So that's all I've done seasoning-wise. Then I want to show you guys what it looks like when it gets wet here. You can see how it's clumpy.
I want to hold this up and you can see all the moisture running out as I'm squeezing it. Then you can see, let me move it up here so you see all that right down here accumulating that is exactly what you want. Now if you have an older cabbage or you're just not getting this much juice out of it you can certainly let things sit. Let this all sit for 5 to 10 minutes, come back, knead it some more because the longer the salt's in there, the more it's gonna break things down and the easier it's gonna be to knead and get some juice out of.
But again, this is why it's really important to use a fresh cabbage to be able to get this much water out of it with the salt there. Okay, so I think we're pretty done. I'm pretty happy with this knead. You can feel it, you can see it clumping together like it wasn't before. Now it's time to add it to our jar. So let me just move this on over.
This is a really simple process. So here's our jar and I am just gonna take big handfuls of it here and plop it right into the jar. That's about it. This is kind of a messy process, you guys, especially with the food processor. I mean you will just have bits of cabbage all over so maybe you know, like wash the floor after not right before. Don't clean the house right before you do this or your kitchen.
But that's it. Okay. So one of the important things here is you can see I'm dropping it in. Then we want to pack it down. One, to try to get as much moisture, again, moving out and then yeah, just really making sure it's kind of tight down in there and you can see so this is a bit of a bigger container than I actually need for this batch, which is not gonna be ideal.
You really do actually want to try to get a container that's the right size, which is through trial and error because the less air you have up here, the better because air oxidizes things then it's more likely to spoil. So you do want to actually try to fill it up as much as you can. Okay, we're gonna keep pouring this on in here. There we go. There we go, okay.
So then you want to make sure you definitely pour the good juice that's left there at the end on in. Okay. So that's it for this cabbage. I do have another cabbage sitting around. I think I will probably go ahead and add that guy in here, too just so you can see a properly full vessel. It is just a guessing game until you can figure out, oh, a cabbage equals about this and it depends on how you cut it. Mine is very fine so it's gonna pack down really easy. If it wasn't as fine it would not pack down quite as easily. Yeah, so you can see I'm just keep packing it and we've got some good moisture coming out, which is ideal.
Okay, guys. So I've got my jar filled up now. This is really about as full as you want it right at the neck of the jar. You don't want to fill in more than that because we have to put in cabbage leaves still, we have rocks to put in. Then as this ferments there's gonna be liquid that comes out. Yeah, this will compress some more, but not a ton. You will leave a little bit of head room up here otherwise, it's possible that the fermentation process will bubble over and it'll get really messy. So I did have a little leftover from my second head of cabbage here and I've put it in a ball jar. Again, not full, not ideal, but I think that's okay. I've done ferments of about this size jar.
Clearly, it's ideal if you have a perfectly sized jar, but that's not life all the time. Sometimes you just kind of have to do it. In this way, with the cabbage this low in this jar even though it's a ball jar they have a metal lid the salt is really gonna be quite far away from the metal lid. If I had a smaller jar I would use that, but that's totally fine.
So okay, so we've got this guy packed down really nicely and at the neck of this jar. I'm gonna take my cabbage leaves from earlier, this nice big one. We're just gonna situate it in here. Sometimes you have to rip them apart, sometimes you don't. This one is actually pretty perfectly sized, but if you have to use a few pieces from multiple leaves that is totally, totally fine.
This is meant to be a barrier between the kraut and the air. So this is a fail-safe to keep things fresh. It's just a really easy nice way to do this. You can see, too I know there are jars out there that people use that have the little fermentation tops so it's supposed to keep it more sterile. I've always just used these and I've never had a problem with one going bad. Maybe that's just my luck, but I really like these jars. I think they're great. Okay, so we're gonna select some rocks here. Here's my first one and we're gonna just weight it in here so we're putting it on top of the leaves, on top of that cabbage leaf. We're probably gonna end up with four, five depending on the size of the rocks I get here.
I'm pushing down a little bit. Right there so we can see the water line coming up. Okay, so I think I need just about one more here. Let me see if I can move you over to give you a top down view of what I've done here. So I got all my rocks in here on top of the cabbage leaves. That's all there is to it. I want to put you down there. That's really about it, guys. So I am going to ... I always wipe off the container right around here. You can see it's a little bit damp from all the salt and cabbage and I just don't want those bits of cabbage to be there and go bad. I wipe that off and I can use a sponge or a paper towel or anything like that. Then we just close it. That is it. That is how you make your own sauerkraut.
Look how pretty it is. So green and vibrant. It's just beautiful. What we want to do is let this ferment for at least seven days, seven minimum. I usually like to do mine for a month because again, there's some really good research out there showing that a month in is about when you start to develop really strong lactobacillus or probiotic cultures.
I always ferment it in a cool, dark place. I could leave it on in the counter and it will certainly ferment faster. Even when I leave it on the counter I put a dish cloth over it just to keep it dark. Otherwise, I put it in the closet, if I'm being honest, and just let it do its thing. I have the other jar that's already done. So if we want to dig in and eat, we can.
You can certainly check in after seven days, see what you see. You want to see bubbles coming up, that means the fermentation process is happening. You definitely want to check in on it just to make sure it's still good and there hasn't been mold growth or something, some contaminant in there. Usually the salt content's high enough, that's not gonna happen. But it is good just to check in on it occasionally. Then you can see it'll turn a much darker color. This is way more vibrant than the one that I showed you in the video earlier. So as it ferments it will turn a little bit more yellowish, that type of thing so you can actually tell.
Then of course, you can taste test if you want like see, hey, is it fermented or not? Pop it open, try it, see what you think. If you feel like it's still kind of tasting like raw cabbage, okay. Let it ferment longer. That's all there is to it. Again, it's not an exact science. This is really as easy as it is. I mean jar, salt, cabbage, dill. That's it. There you go and you're on your way to this amazing, amazing fermented foods and wonderful probiotic cultures that are so right for your GI health.
Hey guys, so I just wanted to clarify one thing I said about opening up the ferment. So if you do that, you want to do that really quickly or not even at all would be preferable just because when you open it up, it introduces the possibility of contamination. Then you're releasing some of those great carbon dioxide gases that are building up in the fermentation process. So the more you open it, the more it slows down the process, and then also it can open up some contamination avenues and then your work will be for nothing.
So you can pop it open to taste, but really patience is the best way to go here. So really try to hold off for at least a couple of weeks, maybe even a month, if you can, especially if you're fermenting it in a cooler and darker place. If it's warmer, again, it might be a little bit faster. But yeah, I think that's it for today. Thanks so much for watching. I really hope this inspired you to make your own sauerkraut, showed you how easy it is to do, and I hope you give it a try. Okay, thanks so much for watching. Take care.
All right, realistic viewpoint of the aftermath of sauerkraut. All over. This is just what happens when you make this stuff. So yeah, just have everything ready. Sink clean to rinse it out and you know, be ready to pick up little bits of cabbage for a while. But that's okay because it's totally worth it. It's so amazingly delicious.
So of course, I dress up for you guys, for the videos because I'd like to look nice and professional. But you know, the parts you can't see not quite as professional. I got some nice yoga pants on here and my 12-year old Birkenstocks from college. That is the reality of things. I like to be comfortable. What can I say? Also, I've heard the Birkenstocks are making a comeback, which I am super excited about. Yay for comfortable footwear.