Superb Crock Sauerkraut

Do you know that you have 10 times more bacteria in your body than cells? Do you know that these tiny microbes can directly affect your digestion, brain function, and nervous system? Do you know that 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut?

Whether you said yes or no, the fact that bacteria play a major role in our health is now being discovered by researchers all over the world. (Read Michael Pollan’s NY Times article Say Hello to the 100 Trillion Billion Bacteria That Make Up Your Microbiome.) How do we increase the beneficial bacteria in our body? By eating cultured foods, of course! Fermented dairy, vegetables, and drinks are all super-charged with beneficial bacteria. Of them all, sauerkraut is my favorite.

Superb Crock SauerkrautWe ferment our own sauerkraut for two months at a time in a 10 Liter Harsch crock from Germany. Depending on the size of the crock, the initial investment can be spendy, anywhere from $120 to $250. But the long-term advantages are worth it! I have experienced better digestion, increased energy and mental clarity, and decreased hypoglycemia symptoms over the year and a half I’ve been eating sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut can be made in mason jars, but you will grow more beneficial bacteria by using a Harsch crock or Pickl-It jars. This is due to the tight air-locking seal they create. Only in this anaerobic environment can lactic acid bacteria helpful in gut healing flourish. Unfortunately, mason jars do not have an anaerobic seal. Since we have had excellent results with our Harsch crock, we’ve have stuck with it. Everyone who tastes our sauerkraut it says it’s delicious! (Read about Loving Our Guts’ experience with Pickl-It jars.)

How to Make Crock Sauerkraut 

Fermenting crocks come with several items – a large vessel for holding the kraut, weighing stones, and a lid. The stones keep the kraut submerged in vegetable juices and the water seal around the lid creates the anaerobic environment.

3 crock lid with seal     4 crock stone scum

To make sauerkraut in a crock, you will need the following items:

  • fermenting crock
  • sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • food processor with a shredding blade
  • stamper or tool with flat surface (optional)
  • cabbage
  • other vegetables (optional)
  • sea salt or other high-quality salt

Start by choosing your vegetable mix. Cabbage should be the bulk of your base, with other veggies in lesser amounts. Add different vegetables for different flavor. We’ve experimented with carrots, kale, squash, turnips, rutabagas, cucumbers, parsley, and ginger.

7 kraut ingredients 2

To make this batch, I used 4 green cabbage, 5 zucchini, 3 yellow squash, 5 kale leaves, and 5 chard leaves. (If you have a smaller crock, use fewer cabbage heads. The crock should be about 4/5 full.)

Cut the cabbage and vegetables into medium-sized chunks, so they fit your food processor.

8 ingredients cut up

Shred the cabbage and other vegetables into a large bowl, using your food processor.

10 food processor with kraut

Mix the vegetable concoction with clean hands or a large spoon.

Place a thick layer of the raw sauerkraut mix into the bottom of the crock and press it down firmly with your clean hand or stamper (or tool with a flat surface).

11 stamper

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sea salt over the first layer. (The exact ratio of salt to vegetables does not matter. Use more salt if you like “salty” sauerkraut.)

Continue this process until the crock is about 4/5 full. Add another layer of vegetable mix, stamp it down, sprinkle salt and repeat. You should see juices begin to appear as you press the vegetables down firmly.

Place the weighing stones on the top of the kraut when the pot is full. If there is less than 3-4 cm of juice above the stones, then add filtered water.

12 crock full13 crock full with stones

Cover the pot with the lid and pour water into the trough. Every 3 to 4 days, check the water level and add water if necessary. The water level must be high enough to maintain an anaerobic seal.

15 crock with pitcher

Place the crock in a cool room (65 degrees) where it can ferment for at least 4 weeks. We ferment for 8 weeks. The longer you ferment, the more beneficial bacteria builds up over time!

This entire process usually takes me 2½ to 3 hours from set-up to clean-up and I always make a big mess! Set aside enough time and be prepared for some disorder.

When your sauerkraut is done fermenting (4 weeks minimum), remove the lid and stones. Don’t be concerned about the top layer of scum that may have collected inside. Then scoop out the “tasty goodness” into mason jars and store in the refrigerator. It can last for months in the fridge.

Superb Crock Sauerkraut
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This sauerkraut recipe is for a 10 Liter Harsch fermenting crock.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 green cabbage
  • 5 zucchini
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 5 kale leaves
  • 5 chard leaves.
  • (If you have a smaller crock, use fewer cabbage heads. The crock should be about ⅘ full.)
Directions
  1. Cut the cabbage and vegetables into medium-sized chunks, so they fit your food processor.
  2. Shred the cabbage and other vegetables into a large bowl, using your food processor.
  3. Mix the vegetable concoction with clean hands or a large spoon.
  4. Place a thick layer of the raw sauerkraut mix into the bottom of the crock and press it down firmly with your clean hand or stamper (or tool with a flat surface).
  5. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sea salt over the first layer. (The exact ratio of salt to vegetables does not matter. Use more salt if you like “salty” sauerkraut.)
  6. Continue this process until the crock is about ⅘ full. Add another layer of vegetable mix, stamp it down, sprinkle salt and repeat. You should see juices begin to appear as you press the vegetables down firmly.
  7. Place the weighing stones on the top of the kraut when the pot is full. If there is less than 3-4 cm of juice above the stones, then add filtered water.
  8. Cover the pot with the lid and pour water into the trough. Every 3 to 4 days, check the water level and add water if necessary. The water level must be high enough to maintain an anaerobic seal.
  9. Place the crock in a cool room (65 degrees) where it can ferment for at least 4 weeks. We ferment for 8 weeks. The longer you ferment, the more beneficial bacteria builds up over time!
  10. When your sauerkraut is done fermenting (4 weeks minimum), remove the lid and stones. Don’t be concerned about the top layer of scum that may have collected inside. Then scoop out the “tasty goodness” into mason jars and store in the refrigerator. It can last for months in the fridge.
Notes
The prep usually takes me 2½ to 3 hours from set-up to clean-up and I always make a big mess! Set aside enough time and be prepared for some disorder.

For more information and how-to photos, please visit my blog post at:

http://restoredroots.com/superb-crock-sauerkraut/

5 finished kraut in jars

Be aware that when you begin eating sauerkraut (or any cultured food), you might experience “die-off” symptoms. When beneficial bacteria invade the home of pathogenic bacteria, the bad microbes die and leave behind toxins. The symptoms can include headaches, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, achiness, and more. I highly recommend you start slowly. If you are fairly healthy, eat 2-3 small bites. If you have no reactions, then continue increasing the amount you eat each day. If you have a compromised immune system or gut problems, begin by drinking the sauerkraut juice only. Over time, slowly increase your sauerkraut dose until you can eat it regularly without complications.

Do you have the courage to make your own sauerkraut now? I hope so! It’s a fun and rewarding process. Plus, your body will thank you for eating it. Tell me your sauerkraut stories below! God bless the beneficial bacteria in your kraut and body!

This entry was posted in Fermenting, Recipes, Vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Superb Crock Sauerkraut

  1. Wow, this sounds amazing!! My husband has been saying we need to make some raw sauerkraut at home, a la Chris Kresser (http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-5-heal-your-gut) but we haven’t yet. We don’t have a crock, I wonder if we could make it in a big jar and use something else for weights and a lid? I’ve seen it in jars but not sure about the weight http://balancedbites.com/2011/03/bites-i-love-fresh-raw-sauerkraut-a-probiotic-food.html… it would be awesome to incorporate this homemade probiotic food into our diets every day!!

    • Tracy Rempel says:

      Yes, sauerkraut is awesome! You’re blog is about DIY, so I hope you’ll be able to make it yourself someday. :) These are excellent links. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Sauerkraut in My Washing Machine | Restored Roots

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

CommentLuv badge