Sauerkraut The sauerkraut is packed tightly in crocks or large glass jars and weighed down with a clean white stone to keep the cabbage submerged. After about three weeks, the first bubbles of carbon dioxide gas form at the surface. The fermentation has begun, and after another three weeks, the fermenting mixture smells sour but appetizing. At this point, it is advisable to remove the scum that forms on the surface daily. Sauerkraut that has been fermented for six weeks is fully cured and can be served as an accompaniment to meat, sausage, or frankfurters; added to choucroute garni; or used in stuffings. During this period, the cabbage gradually releases much of its juices and becomes tender.
This article was written to explain what sauerkraut is for those unfamiliar with it rather than to explain how to make it; however, there are many very good recipes for sauerkraut which can be found by doing a simple google search. The following is only one example that will allow you to try your hand at fermenting cabbage.
Sauerkraut makes a good natural probiotic food because the bacteria that are needed for fermentation naturally occur on cabbages' leaves. The fermentation process also produces helpful enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
Fermenting vegetables has become popular recently because it is viewed as a way to make them more digestible while retaining all their nutrients. This article at Tree Hugger explains the process very clearly. The following excerpt from the article further explains how fermenting cabbage can make cabbages easier to digest:
Fermentation breaks down the cellulose structure in cabbage, making minerals more bioavailable to us. It also produces beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids! Acidic fermentation is best because an acidic medium stimulates lactic acid bacteria which dominate below pH of 4.6. Cabbage ferments best between 70 and 75 degrees F.
Old World sauerkraut recipes typically call for the addition of caraway seeds, juniper berries, or some combination thereof. Many modern recipes also add apple and red cabbage to the mix, but this is a new practice that originated in America around the mid-19th century. If you decide to add in any other ingredients, make sure you add them in at the appropriate time and in the proper ratios.
In cold climates, it is sometimes necessary to dig a hole into the ground and bury your crock of sauerkraut until sufficiently cool weather returns. In warmer climates, it may be necessary to keep your fermenting cabbage refrigerate