Val's Sauerkraut

Val's Sauerkraut

Valerie Burke

In 2015, I took some pictures of my kraut-making process. I apologize for the amateurish photos, but I was alone and up to my elbows in vegetable - nevertheless, I think you'll get the gist. For anyone who believes their kitchen isn't big enough, this will demonstrate that it IS possible - even if you live in a shoebox, like I do. My apartment is about 820 square feet with a kitchen not much larger than a postage stamp. I'm organized, I stack things, and I clean up behind myself continuously. I promise - it CAN be done!

What is Sauerkraut Doing on an EMF Blog?

Proper nutrition is as important for mitigating biological damage from EMFs as it is for preventing influenza, chronic degenerative diseases, and cancer. Without proper nutrition, our bodies lack the resources to repair cellular damage from EMFs and other types of radiation.

Sauerkraut contains billions of beneficial bacteria that perform a multitude of important functions in the body, including boosting the immune system, improving digestion and assimilation of nutrients, B vitamin production, detox, and protection from environmental assaults.

Studies have also shown that probiotics, such as lactobacillus, help protect the body from radiation injury (Ciorba MA, Riehl TE, Rao MS, et al, Lactobacillus probiotic protects intestinal epithelium from radiation injury in a TLR-2/cyclo-oxygenase-2-dependent manner, 


You'll need some basics. At the very least, the process requires some good sharp knives, a cutting board, measuring spoons and cups, glass jars (Mason jars or special anaerobic fermentation jars), and a jumbo sized mixing bowl. It would be very challenging to make a large quantity like this without the help of a food processor, but if you don't have one, you could certainly cut the recipe down and do it all with a knife - more power to you if you go this way!

Val's Sauerkraut

Basic Recipe

Here is my basic recipe, which makes about a gallon, packed. Even though I call this a recipe, I never make it exactly the same way twice. Sometimes I can't find certain vegetables and I will only buy organic, so it depends somewhat on availability. But the recipe is very forgiving--play around with it and see what you like.

  • 2 medium heads cabbage
  • 2 - 2.5 pounds carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1-2 habanero peppers
  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled
  • 1/2 bunch golden beets, peeled (minus greens)
  • 1 crisp red apple or green apple, cored
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 4 inches ginger root, peeled
  • Veggie starter culture (1-2 tsp typically, but follow label)
  • Approx. 1 tablespoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 2-4 cups filtered water (DO NOT use tap water because chlorine and other chemicals will stop the fermentation process dead in its tracks)

Prepping, Chopping, Shredding

Thoroughly clean your veggies. I recommend using 100% organic produce to avoid any chemical contaminants. Trim off any parts that look like they might be turning--and the fresher they are, the better. I like to hand cut the bell pepper and parsley, then use the chopping blade in the food processor to finely chop the ginger. This time, I added one nub of fresh turmeric (that's the orange thing you see in the food processor, along with the ginger).
Val's Sauerkraut
Val's Sauerkraut
Val's Sauerkraut
As I finish chopping each item, I add it to my ginormous metal mixing bowl. It's beat up and won't sit flat (it rocks), but it's the largest bowl I have. It's important you have a bowl that's large enough to get your hands into, in order to turn it all thoroughly without the contents spilling out over the edge. So here is what I have so far in my big wobbly bowl...
Val's Sauerkraut
Now for the cabbage...

I chop it into wedges that will easily pack into the chute of my food processor. It's about to get messy and you're going to have cabbage flying everywhere. Just accept it--it's just cabbage! Then process it with a large shredding disk, which typically takes me 2-3 loads--then into the Big Wobbly Bowl it goes, with everybody else.

Val's Sauerkraut

Val's Sauerkraut

Root vegetables and apple...

I like to leave the apple peel on as it creates nice little red strip "highlights" in the finished product. I peel the sweet potato and golden beets, but not the carrots or parsnips. Now all of the veggies are shredded/sliced thinly and piled up in Big Wobbly Bowl.

Val's Sauerkraut

Culture and Sea Salt

The next step is dissolving your salt and culture in filtered water. Just follow the directions that came with whatever culture you're using. Although you don't have to use salt when you use a culture, I believe it improves the flavor profile, with the additional benefits of the added trace minerals in Himalayan sea salt. I like about 19 grams of salt, which is roughly one tablespoon. So, dissolve the salt and culture in the water and pour it over the veggies. 

For this mound of veggies, 3 cups of water works well. It could be anywhere from 2 to 4 cups, but your finished product needs to have enough "brine" to cover the veggies when packed down. 

Val's Sauerkraut

Val's Sauerkraut

Val's Sauerkraut

Mix, Massage, Crush, Fold... Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Wash your hands again, as you'll be getting up close and personal with your kraut mix - up to your elbows, in fact. Hands are the best kitchen tools ever! Using clean hands, mix the entire contents of the bowl thoroughly. Don't be gentle about it - crush the veggies in your hands as you fold the mixture around. The more crushing and massaging you do, the more juices will be released. 

Val's Sauerkraut

Filling the Jars

Now it's time to pack your jar (or jars). My favorite fermentation jars are anaerobic fermenting jars made by Pickl-It. This recipe fits perfectly into their largest jar (5 Liter), leaving just enough space for the bubbling. I find that my hand works the best for packing. Don't be shy about packing it down--you want to eliminate all air pockets. Make sure the veggies are completely submerged in the brine. I do the final pack-down with a vegetable stomper. You'll be amazed how much fits in one jar!

Val's Sauerkraut

Val's Sauerkraut

You're almost done. All that's left is the partying - the partying of the bacteria, that is! And party they will!

You don't have to have a fancy fermentation jar to make this work. Large mouth quart-sized Mason jars work very nicely. But if you do use Mason jars, make sure to NOT tighten the lids down - leave them loose so gases can escape or you risk the jars cracking under pressure. Gases build up, which makes the whole mixture expand significantly. Make sure you leave some space between the top of the mix and the top of your jar for this expansion. If you pack your jar too full, you might walk into a squishy puddle of brine on your kitchen floor the next morning (voice of experience).

In a day or two, you'll see a whole lotta bubbling going on as those bacteria begin doing their thing. Here's what it looks like 28 hours later... look at all those bacteria burps! Also notice how full the jar is now, compared to before...

Val's Sauerkraut

Val's Sauerkraut

Let the jar sit at room temperature (68 to 75 degrees F) for about three to seven days. My experience is that it typically takes four days to reach optimal fermentation. Beginning on day three, start tasting for "doneness," meaning degree of sourness. This is completely subjective, but keep in mind it will get slightly more sour over time. 
When you're satisfied with the flavor, snug up the lids (if you're using Mason jars) and put them in the refrigerator, which will dramatically slow down the fermentation process. The veggies will keep at least three months in the fridge, typically much longer. 

Tips and Suggestions

Here are some tips for incorporating this health-promoting traditional food into your diet, and getting the most out of it:

  1. Never freeze the cultured veggies.

  2. Do not heat them above 100 degrees F or you’ll kill off those beneficial microorganisms.

  3. Resist eating your veggies directly out of the jar, as this can cause spoilage by introducing bacteria from your mouth. Always use a clean spoon to remove your portion, making sure the remaining veggies are covered with brine before securing the lid.

  4. If you haven't eaten fermented vegetables before, start slowly to allow your system to adjust. Begin with just a teaspoon or two (or just the brine), and work your way up to ½ cup veggies with each meal.

  5. Don’t discard the brine—it’s teeming with wonderful bacteria, making it a great digestive tonic for a multitude of issues. You can drink one to several tablespoons at a time, several times a day. The brine is also safe and beneficial for babies and pets.

  6. Try the veggies in place of lettuce on a sandwich, salad, or mounded into an avocado! Y U M

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