Sauerkraut is an integral part of the GAPS intro diet– there’s no way around it. From the early stages of drinking a small amount of sauerkraut juice with each meal, to later on in intro and beyond, when you can eat as much sauerkraut as you can tolerate, it is a staple food that one you should learn to like. Homemade sauerkraut tastes so much better than store-bought, is healthier and fresher, and will save you lots of money! It is worth investing in some kitchen tools and learning to make this traditional food!
- is full of probiotics created through the process of lactofermentation
- is a good source of enzymes, which aid in digestion
- is yet another way to get in some green veggies
- contains choline, which promotes healthy nervous system function
Funny enough, ever since I started making this delicious traditional food, my boys will not touch store-bought sauerkraut. They taste weak, bland, or (some of them) even downright foul! But, my boys happily devour my homemade garlic dill sauerkraut straight outta the jar, spoonful by heaping spoonful! In fact, I can’t keep up with their consumption, so I did buy some high-quality, raw sauerkraut from the store. It was a no-go. Even I can barely stand the taste. It just goes to show that if you’ve tried sauerkraut and haven’t enjoyed it, try this recipe and it will change your mind!
I have found unequivocally that I prefer to use a fermenting crock over any other method of fermenting vegetables. A crock allows air to escape as the fermentation process creates gases that need expelling, but does not allow air into the crock, which will cause spoilage of the vegetables. With a one-time investment in a beautiful crock, you will be able to make sauerkraut for years to come- and even pass on your crock to generations to come as a family heirloom. I love the idea of teaching my kids to make this super food and someday passing my crocks on to them! Look for a crock like this one.
If you don’t have a crock, you can still make sauerkraut! While I’ve found that a crock is my favorite way to make it, you can start out with a basic canning jar. Make sure the lid is sealed tight and place in the refrigerator after about 3 days. Because a canning jar has no way of letting the gasses created by fermentation escape, you cannot let it ferment for very long or you will risk the jar exploding. Adjust your ingredient measurements to the size of jar/s you have available. You will know the kraut needs to go in the fridge when the lid begins bulging a bit- but do not let it go too long!
Another option is to use a special lid created to be used on canning jars, which lets the air out without letting any air into the ferment. This is an example of what to look for.
Bonus- this kraut is chalk full of garlic, which is a potent anti microbial, so it helps to kill off some of the nasties you’re already tackling by doing GAPS!
Garlic Dill Sauerkraut
- 3 heads - Cabbage - organic is best
- 1 bulb - Garlic - about 6 cloves
- 1/4 cup - Real Salt - approximate measurement
- 1/4 cup - Dried Dill - approximate measurement
- Begin by peeling off any discolored cabbage leaves and discarding. Cut away any additional blemishes
- Chop the cabbage into large pieces and remove the core.
- Using a very sharp knife, begin slicing the cabbage into the thinnest slices you can manage.
- After you have about 1/4 head of cabbage sliced, put it into the crock and top with a smashed/pressed clove of garlic and 1 tsp ea real salt and dill.
- Using a kraut pounder, a blender tamper tool, or your fist, smash the sliced cabbage in the crock until it's wilted and juicy.
- Repeat previous steps until all three heads of cabbage have been sliced and pounded and the crock is full, layering each batch of sliced cabbage, garlic and spices over the last. The cabbage should have produced enough juice to completely cover it.
- Place weights over the cabbage to submerge it completely under the juice.
- If crock has a water reservoir around the top, fill it with filtered water, then place the lid on it.
- Allow to sit out at room temperature for a minimum of 2 weeks.