Probiotic supplements are expensive, so why not try and make the fermented foods packed full of the most probiotics you can? I also do not have a line out the door, waiting for plain sauerkraut to be served, so hopefully this savory one will go over better this winter. This article from Dr. Mercola gives a lot of great info as to why sauerkraut and other fermented foods are so important, for example the bioavailability of vitamin C being 20 times higher in fermented cabbage than fresh cabbage.
I like the flathead Dutch cabbage, or a tender savoy cabbage to make sauerkraut with. I had about 5 heads, and made this in October when our farmers market was still open.
Cut out the core of the cabbages and slice them as thin as possible.
I have a large glass container that has a lid to keep out dust, and it is great to make big batches of ferments in.
Slice thin about 4 to 5 onions
and as many peppers as you like. These were a slightly hot sweet pepper.
and of course garlic, about three heads chopped course or fine.
As I went along, stirring the mixture, I added three tablespoons of real salt, and then later added another one. The brine should taste salty, and believe it or not, the saltiness will subside over time and I wish I had added another tablespoon for this quantity. I got kind of sick of messing with it that evening, and pounded it down as much as possible. It should make it’s own brine within 24 hours, to be fully submerged under the liquid.
After a day I tasted it and it needed more heat, so I added some fermented jalapeños. I should have added more, as the heat really subsided over time.
I read a very fascinating article by Dr. Mercola as to his experimentation with using good probiotic capsules to add to ferments as a starter culture, and to insure you are getting high strains of the good bacteria going. He said his ferments tested out to have trillions of good bacteria in them, with a “t”. Hubby had to have a round of antibiotics after hernia surgery, and I want to make extra sure he repopulates his gut with good bacteria after killing them off.
I added two capsules of this probiotic as a starter culture.
I stirred up the mixture and then pressed it down again
To keep everything submerged, put a clean plate inside and weigh it down with a clean mason jar filled with water.
After a day the ferment really came alive with bubbles.
I waited about 7 days for the majority of the bubbles to subside, and you can keep the ferment in a large crock for longer if you wish, but I wanted to get mine in jars and into the refrigerator, so I could use my glass jar for an apple chutney.
There was a lot of brine, so I had to drain most of it off as I packed the sauerkraut into jars, packing it down tightly.
Packed tightly to about a half inch or more under the rim, I topped off each jar with the brine.
There was about two jars of brine left over, which has a delicious flavor and full of probiotics, and I will use this as a starter for other ferments, and keep it in the fridge.
Since the initial fermentation was done in a large container, and most of the bubbles subsided before I packed into jars, I won’t have to worry about these jars overflowing or leaking. I put them in the fridge, and check them now and then, if the lids need to be loosened to let off some pressure. If the ferments were made and packed in the jars right away, there would need to be more checking and at least an inch space given below the top of the jar.