Get Your Gut In Shape: Down and Dirty Sauerkraut

I always wipe down the shopping cart handle with the handy sanitizing wipes at the grocery store. I’m doing my part in the war on germs being waged in our society. Anti-bacterial soap, anti-bacterial hand sanitizer are only the tip of our modern microorganism warhead. Pasteurized and irradiated food is a relatively new practice. Sterile is good, right?

Fermented foods have sustained humans for thousands of years. When it comes to our gut flora, exposure to bacteria is a good thing. Fermented foods offer the sterile gut a healthy dose of probiotics to help balance our intestinal flora. In a prolonged emergency or TEOTWAWKI event, the skill of fermentation will become very useful – even life saving. When the lights go out, a lot of sub 40 degree food will go to waste.

My sauerkraut will last for years if it had to. Around my house, it doesn’t stand a chance lasting a year.

Here’s my step-by-step process Down and Dirty Sauerkraut.

A.) Gather your ingredients. In this batch, I used one head of white cabbage, one head of red, and about 9 carrots, and some sea salt. You’ll need 2 or 3 wide mouth quart jars with lids. Always use glass to store the kraut to prevent acidic reactions with metal material. I used stainless steel pans to mix the kraut, but only leave it in long enough to mix it. You should really use non-reactive containers in the whole process.

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B.) Shred the cabbage or other vegetables you want to add to your kraut. I use a food processor for a down and dirty (quick) method. Some folks like to slice it with a knife to get the desired length on the kraut. If you’re fortunate, you own a cabbage shredder.

C.) Spread a layer (about an inch or so) into big container. Sprinkle some sea salt over the layer. How much? I don’t know. I don’t make stuff with exact recipes. You may also like to add a tablespoon of caraway seed. I’ve never tried it, but have heard it’s good. Keep adding layers of cabbage and salt until all the veggies are in the container.

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Food processor with some red cabbage below.

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D.) I put all the shredded future kraut into a larger container. You should let the mixture set for about an hour (some recommend 24 hours – but who’s counting) to let the salt begin drawing the moisture out of the veggies. I didn’t wait since I used stainless steel this time. I just started squeezing the juice out. You’ll notice the brine starting to pool at the bottom of your container. Keep squeezing. Some folks call it messaging. I brutalized my kraut for about 20-30 minutes.

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E.) Once there’s a fair amount of brine in the bottom of your container, start filling the quart jars. I try to leave about an inch of head space. As you fill the jar, you’ll want to use a utensil to pack the kraut layer by layer. I used a big wooden spoon. The micro lovelies like it packed tight to better do their thing. Fermentation.

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F.) Once filled, make sure the veggies are covered completely with brine. I’ve seen people use a piece of cabbage to cover the kraut with a weight of some kind. I didn’t use that method. I just made sure I had enough brine to cover. Use any left in the big container to pour over the jar contents. If you don’t have enough brine, use distilled water and a little sea salt mix until dissolved. Then pour enough to cover. Cap the jars with lids and screw the rings down loosely. Check the jars every day or so to make sure the brine is still covering the kraut. You may have to press the kraut down on each check up to ensure it stays submerged.

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G.) Label the lid with the date of processing. Put it away and let nature do the rest. I let this batch sit for about a week. I just opened a jar and enjoyed its goodness.

I just found 4 crocks at a yard sale this morning. I paid seven bucks for the whole lot. I plan on using the largest on my next batch of sauerkraut.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

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Categories: DIY Preparedness, Fermentation, Preparedness, Self-reliant | Tags: , , , | 31 Comments

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31 thoughts on “Get Your Gut In Shape: Down and Dirty Sauerkraut

  1. Pingback: Individual Preparedness Program: My Primal Preparedness Pantry « Survival Sherpa

  2. Mmmm good. I got a homemade jar from a local foraging expert last week and it was awesome. Will be following your recipe this week.

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  4. Gregg

    So thats it? no sealing the lids later? No heating to eat? Just eat it this whay ? can you cook it like city folk do ? How long will it keep?
    Thanks

    • Gregg, that’s all there is to it. Seems too simple doesn’t it. Captain Cook used sauerkraut from barrels 20 plus weeks old on his ship. My last batch made this summer has lasted just fine in the fridge. It’s alive…literally. Cooking it kills all the friendlies. Eat it “raw” and it’ll be so nice to your colony of gut flora :)
      I read one guy that had a jar in his basement that was four years old. He scrapped the mold off the top and ate it. Not endorsing his method here. But it lasts indefinitely. Cheers!

  5. Craig

    how long does does the krout need to ferment?

    • Depends on the temperature. You want the room temp in the 70′s. My last batch quit bubbling in about a week. It’s done when the bubbles stop. Some say it takes 3 to 4 weeks.

      • Bill

        Good stuff indeed. I make mine with a bigger mix of veggies; cabbage/cauliflower/carrots/turnips/onions/garlic/hot peppers…pretty much any of the root crops of the fall. I use a Harsch fermentation crock as I got tired of scraping the mold off the top.
        For anyone looking to try this, the cabbage gives off a sulfur smell for about a week. Smells like a toilet there for a while. I pull my veggies out at about six weeks and put them into quart jars. I also prime the mix with 1/4 cup of kefir–curds and whey both. Have you tried Kefir? That’s another very good probiotic.

      • Never tried a Harsch crock. Adding the kefir curds sounds like it would kick up the probiotics. I drink kefir now but have made my own yet. Got any good recipes for homemade kefir.

        Thanks for the input Bill!

      • Bill

        For homemade Kefir, I usually use it as a smoothie. I put berries, bananas, peaches or whatever in a blender. Add Kefir to cover it, blend it up, add brown sugar to taste–usually a tablespoon or two. If you let this blend sit for a few hours, it gets really fizzy and yeasty tasting.

        I mentioned I used Kefir as a starter in my crock, not just to up the probiotics, but the bugs in Kefir also ensure that nothing bad will get cultivated. I’m gluten intolerant so I don’t use it in baking but I have friends that swear it makes the best sourdough starter and sourdough pancakes.

        BTW, if you’re drinking store bought Kefir, that is a real pale imitation of the real thing, both in appearance and taste.

      • I drink store bought for now. We want to make our own soon.

  6. Pingback: How Many Pills Until Pharmageddon? « Survival Sherpa

  7. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long
    comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not
    writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!

  8. Pingback: How Many Pills Until Pharmageddon?

  9. Pingback: Arm Pit Probiotics and DiY Deodorant « Survival Sherpa

  10. Pingback: Making Yogurt: Experiments 1-4 « Survival Sherpa

  11. Hazel Kliner

    Can you just warm the kraut a bit? At what temp would it kill the good stuff. We’ve been making and eating it forever but always hot. Never made the connection between heating and killing the “friendlys”. DUH!
    Not sure I could get the guy to even try it room temp.
    Going to try the onion next to the bed too! Lots of good info here. THANKS!

    • Hazel, heating fermented foods of any kind will kill the the bacteria you want in your gut :(

      I eat it cold out of the fridge or at room temp as a side. It’s still nutritious if you heat it, but you lose those friendlys when it’s hot. any temp over 100 degrees is bad for the good stuff :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and please come back often.

  12. Pingback: The Top Ten Posts of Our First Year! | Survival Sherpa

  13. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of
    your web site is excellent, let alone the content!

  14. Pingback: Fermented Foods: Feeding Your Second Brain | Survival Sherpa

  15. This page truly has all of the information and facts I needed concerning this
    subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  16. Pingback: Fermented Foods: Feeding Your Second Brain | The Daily Sheeple

  17. Hey, thanks for providing the making process of Sauerkraut. I’ll ask my mom to make this. I really haven’t tested it. I will test it out.

  18. Pingback: Random Acts of Prepping | Survival Sherpa

  19. Pingback: Fermented Foods: Feeding Your Second Brain | Ready Nutrition

  20. I followed your method over a month ago and my sauerkraut is delicious! Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. Pingback: The 4 Standards of SmartPrepper’s Nutrition Plan | Survival Sherpa

  22. Pingback: 20+ Ultimate DiY Gifts to Help Load Santa’s Survival Sleigh | Survival Sherpa

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