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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 [1] 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 [2] and blood pressure*. Because we never use industrial table salt–we generally use Himalayan crystal salt [3] 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 [1]

It is a good idea to read over Dom’s notes [1] on making the kefirkraut, if you are just getting started. This is my rather simplified version of his recipe:

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 [4].) 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.

[5]

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 [6] Bloghop.