Because there are more beneficial bacteria in a spoonful of sauerkraut than there are in an entire bottle of probiotic pills, it is a great idea to join a ferment club near you!
Look no further! There is a local Ferment-A-Month Club in Edmonton (YEG), Alberta, Canada… that is if you are living near Edmonton, look no further.
June 27th was the launch of the ferment club YEG and it was well received with a sold out batch of dilly kraut.
Ferment club members had this to say about their local kraut & kefir:
“The fresh dill in the dilly kraut is delicious. I mixed it with salad greens & avocado; didn’t even have to add dressing!” -Bev Clarke
“I LOVE the cabbage/carrot slaw and am really enjoying it. Almost running out and it’s not even the middle of the month! I look forward to trying your other items.”
If you don’t eat yogurt, milk kefir or Kim Chi almost daily or enjoy Miso soup weekly, then you may have a detox response to raw sauerkraut. What makes it raw? Well, the cabbage, carrots, dill, etc. that it is made from is raw… the wild fermentation process adds no heat, but does add plenty of nutrition! It is unpasteurized, unsealed with no added vinegar or sugar. It is also wild fermented with raw sea salt in an old traditional crock, that makes it “super-raw” teaming with beneficial bacteria & more enzymes than the original cabbage could even dream of containing… the wild fermentation process also naturally enhances vitamin C, K and the B complex, along with many other measurable antioxidants & detoxification nutrients! Now you know why I love this stuff, any health nut really should consider fermentation to be the #1 superfood, in my opinion.
Dilly kraut is a great starter kraut if you’re new to wild fermented vegetables. Dill weed is a seasonal food known as a cooling digestive herb. Especially if this is your first time eating ferments on a regular, this is a great starter kraut. It also offers a delicious flavour addition to salad, eggs, avocado toast, or on top of boring lentils & rice. I recommend starting with 1-2 Tablespoons of raw kraut with every meal, that’s right, 3 times per day if you eat that many meals.
Now that we’ve learned so much about why to eat raw sauerkraut, here’s the how to make it. I have nothing to hide, no secret formula, fermentation is an art and it just happens to be one of my favourite forms of art… If you feel inclined to try this recipe out, enjoy! All the power of fermentation to ya!
Here are the ingredients:
1 medium sized head of green cabbage
1/2 Tbsp. Fresh Dill Weed, minced
1/2 Tbsp Dry Dill Weed
1/2 Tbsp. High quality unrefined sea salt
Chop all the vegetables into small bite sized pieces, grate all of them in a food processor if you like, or use a mandolin for long thin pieces (to fit on hot dogs for example).
Now stuff all the chopped vegetables, dill and sea salt into a vessel. I use a traditional crock for ease of smashing with my trusty bat. Use a sturdy bowl or pot if you have yet to pick up a fermentation crock. Smash the veggie slaw until it gets juicy, about 10 minutes of steady pounding.
Once the vegetable juices start getting slushy & sloshing about, smother the slaw (with a plate or push down with your hands) underneath the juice, add water if needed. The water creates an air seal to make the perfect anaerobic environment for lactic acid fermentation.
Perhaps a bit scientific sounding, but it is very simple:
If you don’t have a fancy crock, high quality glass jars can be stuffed full of the juicy slaw as well. “Airlock” lids (see picture) are available to avoid the 3 days of babysitting and ‘burping’ you must do to avoid overflow of the bubbly brew. Babysitting is necessary for 3 days; burping is simply opening the lid to release the CO2 off gassing from fermentation.
It only takes 2 days before lactic acid fermentation kicks in, I leave my fermentation vessels out at room temperature for 7-10 days for the best flavour and texture. The longer it ferments the stronger the sour & less salty the taste becomes as well as the texture will become mushy. I prefer somewhere in the middle with a crunchy texture and a sour not overly salty flavour.
Once the flavour and texture profile is to your liking, start eating it immediately (woot!). Place the kraut in fridge for storage. The cold fridge temperature will VERY slowly continue fermenting the kraut; the flavour will continue to sour over time. Several months, up to 2 years is a reasonable cold storage shelf life. If it starts to taste like beer or vinegar and look like mush, it has been stored too long and can be used as compost. Also, watch for mold growing on the top of the ferment. Scoop it off quickly or the mold will grow legs and contaminate the entire jar. If in doubt you will be able to taste the mold once contaminated.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe and fermentation lesson! If this feels like a not-so-simple process then join a ferment club, visit a local farmer’s market or supermarket’s organic refrigeration section for raw kraut and pickles or find a local or online fermentation course to step you through and answer all your questions. The bottom line is: you want to include this amazing local super food and all it’s benefits in your daily meal, if not with every single meal.