Homemade sauerkraut, my flat belly secret

I hope that got your attention! Yes, I believe eating a little of my homemade sauerkraut every day helps keep my tummy flat. I will explain why and show you how I make my own sauerkraut.

Food fermentation has a long history

Humans have been fermenting food since an estimated 10,000 BC. The reasons for this were to preserve food and enhance the nutritional benefits.

Just about every culture has traditionally used fermented foods in their diet, such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, natto, cod liver oil, high meat and, of course, sauerkraut.

Americans do not typically eat fermented food. In fact, most of us tend to treat our stomach like a garbage can and just eat anything without regard to the effect it will have on our bodies.

I want to have a long and healthy life (and fit into my size 4 jeans) so I decided to make fermented food part of my diet. And of that list, sauerkraut appeals to me the most.

The nutritional benefits of sauerkraut

Something magical happens when you mix cabbage, salt and water together in an anaerobic environment. It produces lovely probiotics, enzymes and vitamin K2, to name a few. All these things are good for gut health and your overall health because if your digestion is messed up, you won’t be healthy.

When your digestion works properly, you won’t have gas, bloating, heartburn, etc. 

And you get all this good stuff for just pennies a day compared to buying nutritional supplements.

Making sauerkraut vs buying it

You don’t have to make your own sauerkraut but you’ll save a lot of money doing it and you can customize it to your taste.

If you’d rather buy sauerkraut, make sure to get it from the refrigerated section. Any sauerkraut that is shelf stable has been pasteurized which kills all the probiotics.

I could make vats of sauerkraut for what one jar from the store would cost. And here’s how I make it.

How to make sauerkraut

You will need a 64 oz mason jar with optional plastic lid, glass weights* (optional but highly recommended), large knife, cutting board, large mixing bowl, water, sea salt and cabbage (slightly over 4 lb).

*You need some kind of weight, not necessarily these, but these are perfect!

64 oz  mason jar, plastic lid and glass weight
64 oz mason jar, plastic lid and glass weight

This basic recipe makes about a half gallon of sauerkraut.

Cut cabbage into thin strips. Save one leaf (cut into a circle) to fit inside the jar as floater control.

circle of cabbage
Cut a circle of cabbage to control floaters

Discard the core.

Put cabbage into mixing bowl with about 1T of salt. Knead and massage cabbage with your hands for a total of 10 minutes. 

Sliced cabbage with 1T sea salt
Sliced cabbage with 1T sea salt ready for kneading

After five minutes you can add extra spices or veggie slices if desired.

garlic, onion flakes, red pepper flakes
I sometimes add crushed red pepper, garlic and onion flakes

Transfer cabbage into mason jar and use your fist to press out all the air. Pour in the liquid from the cabbage.

cabbage kneaded for 10 minutes
Cabbage after 10 minutes of kneading
Tamping down the cabbage with my fist to remove air
Tamping down the cabbage with my fist to remove air
cabbage pressed into mason jar
All the cabbage pressed into mason jar. This was a little smaller batch.

Add the floater control circle and put at least one glass weight on top. You may need to add extra brine to completely cover the cabbage and weight.

Adding cabbage circle to jar
Adding cabbage circle to jar
Glass weights keep cabbage under water
Glass weights keep cabbage under water

The recipe for brine is 1T sea salt to 4 cups of water (I use filtered water). Save extra brine in the refrigerator.

leftover brine
Save leftover brine in the refrigerator

Leave 1 to 1½ inches of space from the top of the jar. The liquid is going to rise during fermentation.

Lay the lid on top but don’t screw it on. This is just to keep bugs out.

Lid placed on top of jar and put inside bowl
Lid placed on top of jar and put inside bowl

Put the mason jar on a plate. Cover the jar with a clean cloth and set aside out of direct sunlight for 7 to 14 days. (Longer in cooler temperatures.)

Put a clean towel over the jar
Put a clean towel over the jar

Check sauerkraut every day to make sure there’s still enough liquid. Sometimes after the liquid rises it will begin to evaporate and you need to add more brine.

Bubbles produced during fermentation
Bubbles produced during fermentation

When the sauerkraut is ready, remove the glass weight and cabbage circle. Now you can screw on the lid and place the jar in the refrigerator. This will keep up to a year.

remove and discard cabbage circle after fermentation
After fermentation, remove and discard cabbage circle

Watch my video on how to make sauerkraut

See me make sauerkraut step by step

So there you have it! I eat about ¼ cup each day. Being a low carb food, it fits well into my keto diet.

Sauerkraut finished and ready for the refrigerator
Sauerkraut finished and ready for the refrigerator

I hope you’ll enjoy your sauerkraut and good tummy health!

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