ImageMy sweet neighbor, who grew up in Bosnia, recently brought me a entire fermented head of cabbage, their version of (pre-shredded) sauerkraut. I don’t know the exact method, but as I understand it, cabbages are cored and then salt is poured into the core holes (filled to the top). After a few days, those cabbages are immersed in water/brine and stored in crocks or barrels for approximately six months. The taste is incredible and so much better than store-bought sauerkraut.

The kraut I make is available to eat in just four or five days. Although my sauerkraut isn’t quite as good as my neighbor’s, it’s still really good. I mix a packet of yogurt starter into a huge bowl of shredded cabbage (two heads, green or purple or a combo), add lots of salt, pack the mixture into jars, sprinkling salt between layers, and let the kraut sit for four to six days before refrigerating. FYI, the sauerkraut lasts a very long time in the frig. I don’t know how long as I’ve never had any go bad. Check online for exact recipes.

According to, “Cabbage offers a host of health benefits. It is high in vitamins A and C. Studies have shown the cruciferous vegetables can help lower cholesterol levels. Cabbage also provides a rich source of phytonutrient antioxidants. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties, and some studies indicate it may help combat some cancers. However, this already helpful vegetable becomes a superfood when it is pickled.”

Sauerkraut “contains plenty of probiotic bacteria and large amounts of vitamin C, as well as vitamin K, B6, folic acid, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium.”

In “Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods,” Sandor Katz writes that “Eating fermented foods live is an incredibly healthy practice, directly supplying your digestive tract with living cultures essential to breaking down food and assimilating nutrients. …Quite an awesome array of medical studies have identified specific anti-cancer and other disease-preventing properties in fermented foods.”

Our friends Pam and Lee eat a bit of sauerkraut before each meal to aid digestion. I like to add kraut to green salads or eat it with avocados. Best of all, homemade sauerkraut adds delicious flavor to cabbage rolls and Reuben sandwiches. How do you use sauerkraut? Please share!




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