KefirKraut — Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut

Saurkraut made with kefir grains gives you kefirkraut! Originally developed by Dom, please check out his site: Dom’s Kefirkraut in-site for a full description and history of the recipe. There are lots of other great recipes and interesting resources over there, which I am sure all the fermentation fanatics out there will really get into.

I made my own batch of kefirkraut the other day. I am not one of those people who are concerned about salt and blood pressure*. Because we never use industrial table salt–we generally use Himalayan crystal salt these days which is actually very helpful and healing. The reason I mention this is because this is a No-salt sauerkraut recipe. Just add some kefir grains and you are good to go. The pickled cabbage comes out very sour, but delicious. I guess you can still add a bit of salt if you prefer to.

Kefirkraut may be regarded as a vegetable probiotic source, low in carbohydrates, rich in Lactobacilli, Yeasts, Vitamin U [only found in cabbage] and Vitamin C including some of the B group vitamins bio-synthesised by the friendly organisms native to kefir grains, and to fresh cabbage or other fresh vegetables used in any given recipe.

The native microflora of cabbage is evident as a powdery white film, covering the surface of the outer leaves of fresh cabbage. This film causes the interesting phenomenon, which I refer to as, water running off of a duck’s back. This effect is observed by pouring water over the surface of cabbage leaves. The water is repelled from the surface of the leaf, forcing the water to form water beads, which readily roll off the leaf. This phenomenon protects the native microflora from being damaged or removed from the leaf surface in wet conditions. -Dom, developer of the kefirkraut

It is a good idea to read over Dom’s notes on making the kefirkraut, if you are just getting started. This is my rather simplified version of his recipe:

  • 2 T kefir grains
  • 1 head organic cabbage
  • 2 t caraway seeds

Method:
Rinse kefir grains. Chop cabbage finely and pound with morter and pestle or other object to bruise the cabbage well. Mix the cabbage with the caraway seeds.

Place half the kefir grains in the bottom of your jar. Top with cabbage mixture and press down firmly with either your hand or other object (see my list of favorite kitchen equipment for a wooden cabbage press). When half of the cabbage is in the jar add the rest of the kefir grains and continue adding cabbage, pressing down very hard. The liquid from the bruised cabbage should start to come up.

Add more filtered water to cover the cabbage. Something can be used to weigh down the cabbage as well. Place lid on jar and allow to sit out for around 4-5 days (depending on how you like your kefirkraut). If it is warm you may want to skim the liquid after a couple days. Keep your eye on it and make sure the cabbage remains under liquid.

After 5 days put the kefirkraut in your fridge and use it for making sandwiches. (I like it with pate and almond bread.) Or add it into your favorite salad, I like it with broccoli and sunflower seeds.

Refrigerated salt less kefirkraut should store well for 3 to 4 months.

You can see the kefir grains forming at the very bottom of the jar–they look a bit like curd cheese.

*Dr. Michael H. Alderman of New York City’s Albert Einstein School of Medicine and former president of the American Society of Hypertension after an 8 year study, in 1995, found those in the lowest sodium consuming quartile of his study had more than four times as many heart attacks as those on normal sodium diets. Several countries have therefore put out statements that universal sodium restriction is not recommended.

Please also note that common table salt should be avoided and sea salt or himalayan crystal salt should be used instead.

This recipe is part of Kelly’s Real Food Wednesday Bloghop.

15 Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if i can make Saurkraut solely with cabbage and coconut water to let it ferment naturally without adding salt.

  2. larry von says:

    I made a batch of kefir kraut yesterday for the first time. My question is: is necessary to secure the lid on the jar of kefir kraut during fermentation or can I just place a coffee filter over the opening of the jar secured with a rubber band? Coffee filter will allow co2 to escape, and keep dust etc out.
    Right? Or should the lid be secured? When I made a batch of kefir water, I used a coffee filter.
    Need your input?? Thanks

    • hellaD says:

      I usually just put a plastic top on loosely when making the kefir kraut. I haven’t tried it with a coffee filter and rubber band but that makes sense as well. I agree that you don’t want to have too secure a lid on it.

    • larry von says:

      why does my cultured cabbage with water kefir grains smell very similar to the same aroma I get from making kombucha? In fact when I made water kefir, the same aroma eminated, almost as if I was making homemade kombucha?? It is not that pleasant actually. Am I crazy? Am I doing something wrong in the process?

      Larry

  3. Mary says:

    This kefirkraut is awesome. My husband is on a super restricted salt diet, so traditional sauerkraut was off the menu (and we missed it terribly). I used only kefir grains, kefir water and cabbage. The result after 1 week was a nice crispy tangy kraut.

    I also tried a salt free sauerkraut with caraway and herbs but didn’t care for the caraway/herb taste. Plain kefirkraut was WAY better..

  4. Rachelle says:

    I love that this can be eaten right away (after the 4-5 days sitting on the counter)! When I made regular sauerkraut, I had to wait a month or two for the flavor to ‘mellow’ enough to be edible.

  5. Tom says:

    The question is: Can I use actual milk kefir–as opposed to kefir grains–to make kefirkraut.
    The answer is: Try it and see.

    • MJB says:

      I doubt it. Milk kefir can’t make more milk kefir [unlike yogurt, which can be used to make more yogurt]. Only kefir grains can make kefir, so only they can make kefirkraut. The grains can be either milk kefir grains or sugar water kefir grains. Neither of course are actual grains. Milk kefir grains look like cottage cheese curds & sugar water kefir grains look like pieces of clear jelly. If you drink milk kefir regularly, you can save lots of money by making it yourself. It’s relatively easy to do. After it’s made you can flavor it with flavors not available in the bought kefir.

    • Teresa says:

      I don´t use the grains to make my kefirkraut. I add the kefir whey to the shredded veg once I have bashed it up, then leave for a couple of weeks. Absolutely addictive!!

  6. kurt says:

    Hope I get a response. Question for you: I live in northern Thailand and would like to start trying to make sauerkraut. I know it’s possible to just use cabbage and salt. I have no access to kefir grains (but could probably get some in a few weeks time). However, there’s a local health food store which sells raw goat milk kefir. Could I use some of this milk kefir as a starter for making sauerkraut? Thanks for your help.

    Kurt

    • hellaD says:

      Hey Kurt,
      Yes sauerkraut is very easy to make with just salt and cabbage. Here is a link to a simple recipe: http://www.helladelicious.com/recipes/2012/05/tarragon-sauerkraut/ (you may want to substitute fresh coriander for the terragon or just leave it out altogether.

      • kurt says:

        Thanks for the quick response. My question is really can I use milk kefir as a starter instead of the kefir grains. I’m not sure how to get whey, but I can get both cow and goat milk kefir. Would that work? Thanks!

        • hellaD says:

          Also Kurt I can send you some dried kefir grains if you like, I sell them via my ArtFire store here: http://www.helladelicious.com/store/2013/02/buy-kefir-grains/ although I sometimes sell out.

        • Sal says:

          I believe you can use raw milk kefir to help in the fermentation. It is worth experimenting.

          I did not know about “Dom’s kefirkraut” but I have been experimenting an using well fermented coconut water kefir in my sauerkraut and find it tastes great and works faster than anything else. Using actual kefir grains is very wasteful. In your case in Thailand I would imagine you plentiful coconuts from which you can take the water, put in a jar, and leave in a warm cupboard for 24hrs to NATURALLY ferment (any fresh coconut has plenty of bacteria that will do the job). So in you case why would you need to bother with kefir grains at all? Just use your natuarally fermented coconut water and add 1/4 cup to your shredded cabbage. It may work. Experiment! Good luck.

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