How To Make Easy Sauerkraut
I’m super psyched to introduce you to Craig Fear, a certified Nutritional Therapist and blogger over at Fearless Eating, one of my favorite blogs I recently discovered! Craig is also the author of a new ebook, The 30 Day Heartburn Solution: A 3 Step Nutrition Program for Stopping Acid Reflux Without Drugs.
He is making a guest appearance here today to give us his “Easy Speasy Sauerkraut Recipe” and tell us about his new book!
In my eyes, Craig is a genius and I love reading his work and his philosophies and views on nutrition. I learn so much everytime I get on his blog. I hope you’ll spend some time on his blog, connect with him on Facebook and check out his new book! ~Kelly
Heartburn manifests when stomach acid refluxes back into the esophagus. Unlike our stomach, the esophagus does not have a protective mucosal layer, so the acid burns the esophageal lining which lies in front of our chest. Heartburn becomes problematic when it starts to happen on more than an occasional basis. Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is essentially chronic acid reflux and it’s diagnosed through its main symptom – heartburn.
Most people believe heartburn is caused by too much acid (including doctors) but it’s really just acid winding up in the wrong place (the esophagus). Doctors prescribe acid blockers like Nexium and Prilosec which shut down acid production in the stomach. Though they provide relief from heartburn, people become dependent upon them because they don’t stop the underlying cause which is so often diet related. Consistently shutting down acid production, a totally unnatural thing to do, has consequences!
Rarely does anyone come to see me just for heartburn. There’s usually many other digestive complaints – bloating, IBS, constipation, etc. That’s because the acid in our stomach sets up a domino-like effect of connected events in the digestive system.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people today take digestive medications for heartburn. Just take a look at the digestive aide aisle in CVS. The choices are mind boggling. Really, it’s like standing in the cereal aisle at your supermarket.
And it never ceases to amaze me how easy it can be to stop heartburn and GERD with just some simple dietary changes. And that’s why today I’m going to share with you the very first recipe in my book! It’s what I consider one of the simplest and most powerful foods to help with heartburn and other digestive issues.
Sauerkraut, as well as other fermented foods, is an important component of any digestive health protocol. Properly fermented foods are ALIVE, teeming with billions upon billions of bacteria that populate our digestive tract. So when we eat fermented foods, they act as a raft for bacteria to move into our gut and take up residence where they play some remarkable roles in keeping us healthy. Did you know we have ten times as many bacteria in our intestines as we do cells in our body?
Sauerkraut is one of the most common fermented vegetables in America. Best of all it’s so easy to make at home. And today I’m going to show you how to make not just any ol’ sauerkraut. I’m going to show you how to make what I call, “Easy Speasy Sauerkraut.”
Easy Speasy Sauerkraut Recipe
One medium head cabbage
1-2 TBSP sea salt
1-2 TBSP whey, optional
1-2 tsp caraway seeds, optional
1. Chop cabbage anyway you want, thick or thin strips is fine. Hand chop or use a food processor but don’t blend it up too fine.
2. Mix the shredded cabbage with salt in a large bowl.
3. Here’s the key to making it easy speasy. Cover the bowl and leave it at room temperature for 3-4 hours or even longer. The salt will withdraw the water from the cabbage making it very easy to pack into jars.
4. Now the cabbage should be good and wet. Add whey and caraway seeds if using and mix with the cabbage. Whey acts as a starter and can make results a little more predictable but it’s not necessary. Caraway seeds add flavor.
Take one handful at a time and place in a wide mouth mason jar. Press and pack the cabbage into the jar with any kitchen instrument with a dull end. For years I used the end of an egg beater. It worked fine. These days I use a pastry maker that has a nice blunted end. The water should easily come out of the cabbage and start accumulating with every pressed handful. Continue pressing and packing until the cabbage is tightly packed and the water rises to one inch below the top of the jar.
5. Put the lid on and leave it at room temperature in a cool, dark place in your kitchen for 3-7 days. It will ferment quicker in warmer weather.
6. Check it every day. Open the lid to relieve gasses that build up. If the water starts to rise, let some out. If the cabbage starts to un-pack, pack it back down with your hands or a kitchen tool. If mold forms on the surface, don’t freak out! Just remove it. This is a result of contact with air. Everything that is submerged in the brine is fine.
7. Taste the ‘kraut after a few days. When it’s pleasantly sour transfer it to the fridge where it will continue to ferment and last for months and months.
So the big difference between this sauerkraut and regular sauerkraut is just step #3. But you can skip that step. It just means you’ll be spending a little more time and muscle pounding the juices out of the cabbage. It’s still easy but not quite easy speasy.
Also, a note on the whey. Adding whey adds good bacteria that can give a more consistent outcome. To make whey, add a quart of good quality yogurt to a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl for 4-5 hours. The yellowish liquid that drips out is whey. Transfer this to a jar in your fridge. It will last about six months. Tie the cheesecloth together and let it hang to let even more whey drip out. The yogurt will thicken further and you can add salt and herbs to make a delicious homemade cream cheese.
Finally, don’t be afraid to add other vegetables for different flavor and color combinations. Red cabbage, carrots, radishes, garlic and onions are just a few suggestions. Personally, I love my sauerkraut plain. But that’s just me. Experiment and find whatever works for you.
A Video Demo
And I have a video for you too! Several months ago I made a guest appearance on a local talk show demonstrating exactly this recipe. Other than the annoying 15 second commercial that I can’t edit out (sorry about that), I think I did a good job and I hope it helps you make this easy speasy recipe even easier speasier.
Of course, there’s more to stopping heartburn than just eating sauerkraut. As I explain in the book, fermented foods like sauerkraut are one of the five pillars of real food. But I’m going to take an educated guess and say that if you’re a regular reader of Kelly’s blog that heartburn is not an issue for you.
And that’s because eating primally is the perfect anti-heartburn diet!
However, I’m going to take another educated guess and say that you probably know quite a few people who don’t eat primally and have heartburn. After all, one in five Americans experience heartburn at least weekly. Most of these folks are regularly consuming antacids like Tums and the more powerful acid blockers like Nexium and Prilosec which are among the most commonly prescribed and abused over-the-counter medications in the world.
I’d love if you could tell these people about my new book! It can really help them get off their medications and better yet, improve their overall health.
They can download the first four chapters of my book for FREE so they can clearly understand why heartburn is NOT caused by too much acid and why acid-blocking medications stop the symptoms of heartburn but not the underlying cause.
CLICK HERE to download the first four chapters for FREE.
Finally, I’d like to thank Kelly again for letting me jump in here and share my recipe and talk a little about my new book. Cheers!