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Sauerkraut is a traditional fermented food made from finely shredded cabbage and salt. It is a rich source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support the health of the gut microbiome. Some potential health benefits of sauerkraut include improved digestion, stronger immunity, and a reduced risk of certain diseases:
- Improved digestion: The probiotics in sauerkraut can help to balance the gut microbiome, which can improve digestion and reduce symptoms of digestive issues such as bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
- Stronger immunity: The probiotics in sauerkraut may also help to strengthen the immune system by increasing the production of certain white blood cells that help to fight off infections and disease.
- Reduced risk of certain diseases: Regular consumption of sauerkraut may also reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
- Vitamin C: Sauerkraut is also a good source of Vitamin C.
- Weight loss: Fermented foods like sauerkraut may help in weight loss by reducing the craving for unhealthy foods and by promoting a healthy gut microbiome.
It’s worth noting that sauerkraut is quite high in sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation. It’s always best to speak to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about adding sauerkraut to your diet.
A traditional Lithuanian recipe for sauerkraut involves mixing shredded cabbage with salt, caraway seeds, and juniper berries. The mixture is then packed into a crock or jar and left to ferment for several weeks. Some variations may also include the addition of grated apples or other vegetables, such as carrots or turnips. The fermented sauerkraut is then drained, rinsed, and served as a side dish or used as an ingredient in soups and stews.
I am sharing with you my family recipe. My gradma Julia uset to make it all the time and seems like it tastes just like hers. In autumn they will shred lots and lots of cabbages to fill a large oak berrels lined with thick plastic. They would make 1 barrel of sauerkraut and 1 barrel of pickles (real ones, fermented, pickled, no vinegar) and we all family would enjoy during the winter months.
Hope you will enjoy as much as we do!
Sauerkraut Lithuanian Tradition
3 medium size cabbage heads, cores removed
1 tbsp of sea salt for each 1 kg or 2.2 lbs of cabagge
3 medium sized carrots, peeled, shredded
1 tsp whole caraway seeds
a few fresh cranberries (4-6)
Let’s make it
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the thinly sliced (using a slicing mandoline or knife) cabbage and sea salt. Use your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage until it begins to release its liquid, about 5 minutes.
Add caraway seeds (if using) to the cabbage mixture and stir until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a sterilized, wide-mouth fermentation or glass jar and press down on the cabbage with a clean hands or spoon, add tight-fitting lid or a fermentation weight to ensure that the cabbage is fully submerged in its liquid.
- Cover the jar with a clean, tight-fitting lid and place it in a cool, dark place for 3-7 days, depending on desired level of fermentation.
- Check the sauerkraut every day to ensure that the cabbage is still fully submerged.
- Once it has fermented to your liking, transfer the sauerkraut to the refrigerator where it will keep for several months.
- When pick the cabbage pick firm, mature heads, lighter in color.