It seems that modern society lost an appetite for fermented foods back in the 50's when canned foods came on the market, but, luckily, they're starting to make a come back. And for good reasons.
Sauerkraut (and other fermented vegetables) is jam packed with good bacteria that our body can take in and use; meaning, it's a fantastic aid for digestion and gut health. It's also anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, and is filled with antioxidants and other minerals and vitamins.
This recipe is quick to prepare, delicious at almost any meal, and most importantly, has a big punch of nutrients that is essential for the body.
So, it's a win win. Lot's of flavor, color, and nutrients. Dig in!
So, why is this dish a must add to any diet?
High in all sorts of amazing nutrients for the body, this cabbage has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It's a great source of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, manganese, and contains a fair amount anthocyanin polyphenols (an antioxidant & what gives it its purple color). What an amazing vegetable!
Unlike regular table salt that has been stripped of any trace minerals and has added dextrose (sugar) - sea salt is less processed and all its minerals in tact; iron (Himalayan salt), magnesium, calcium, zinc, along with other trace minerals depending on where it's mined from.
Seaweed is a power house when it comes to nutrient density. Some folks have a hard time incorporating it into their diets, but I've found that this recipe has made it easy and rewarding (and it won't effect the sauerkraut's flavor!). Dulse is high in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, B6 and B12. Seaweed helps support the liver filter the blood, supports the thyroid, and protects the body against heavy metals.
These tiny guys give a big bang when it comes to trace nutrients and flavor. Caraway seeds give a delicious aromatic flavor profile and are a popular addition to sauerkraut, and I'm right there with 'em. They're a good source of antioxidants, protein, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Isn't that all amazing?! Sauerkraut is one heck of a super food.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Wait Time: 7-10 days
glass, stainless steel, or metal bowl
glass container for fermenting (1 quart to 1 gallon)
Small plate that fits on the inside of the container
Something heavy that can be placed on top of the small plate (could be a glass container filled with water, rock, or bottle)
1/2-1 head of purple cabbage
1/2-1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp caraway seeds
3-4" dulse (or 1 1/2 tbsp dulse flakes)
Grind the dulse into flakes (if using whole dulse). I use a coffee grinder and it works great.
Cut the cabbage in half and begin to thinly slice it - as thin as you can - you can also use a mandolin (and remember, a sharp knife is essential!). Place the cabbage in a bowl and add the sea salt through out. Begin to massage the cabbage with your hands, squeezing and kneading it. You want the cabbage to start excreting water (you'll see this after about 5 minutes or so of massaging). You want to be able to squeeze water out of the cabbage very easily. The mixture will be softer and a little translucent.
Now, taste the cabbage, it should be salty! If it's not briny and salty enough, add a little more salt and mix thoroughly. The salt is the preserving agent and if there is not enough, your batch will go sour faster (less salt speeds up the fermenting process). But, too much salt can halt the fermenting process - I've read different numbers, around 3 tbsp for every 5 lbs. of cabbage.
Once you have this down, add the caraway seeds and dulse flakes. Mix and massage a little more.
Add the mixture into your fermenting container (I use a wide lip quart sized glass jar, but you can use anything as long as the mixture has about 1/2 inch up top). Pack the cabbage firmly down, the brine should cover the mixture by 1/4 of an inch or more. Place the small plate on top of the cabbage to keep the mix submerged and add the heavy weight on top. None of the cabbage should be exposed to air.
Tip: You can use a big piece of cabbage on top of the cabbage (below the plate) to protect the mixture from getting exposed to air. Sometimes I do this, but I haven't found it's necessary.
Place the container in a cool dark place. Check every day and rinse the plate. Check for mold (should not occur if the salt ratio is good). After five days taste it - You can place it in the refrigerator once you enjoy the flavor, anywhere from 7 days to 3 weeks. I like mine around 10 days, I place it in the fridge, and enjoy over the next few weeks. The sauerkraut is good up to 3 months.
World's Healthiest Foods. (2015) Cabbage. Retrieved at: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19
Nutrition Data. (2015) Nutrition Facts and Analysis. Retrieved at: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2614/2 http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/175/2
Sea Veg. (2015) Nutritional chart on Dulse. Retrieved at: http://www.seaveg.com/shop/index.php?main_page=page&id=15&chapter=5