Immune Boosting Sauerkraut
While sauerkraut has inherent immune boosting qualities, there are times when we want to supercharge our sauerkraut. This Immune Boosting Sauerkraut recipe takes the best of probiotics that sauerkraut has to offer and takes it up a notch by adding ingredients which also support the immune system.
So many people see their doctors and medicines as their first line of defense, but to me the most important immune defenses we can develop come from consuming healthy foods, avoiding foods/drinks which can be harmful, and exercising regularly. Keeping spirits elevated, surrounding yourself with positive people, finding personally meaningful work and getting a good night’s sleep provide most of the finishing touches to a vibrantly healthy life.
This sauerkraut seeks to support the food aspects of a healthy immune sytem. In this recipe you’ll find the following ingredients which all can help to fight off fight off illness and infection:
– Red Cabbage – chosen especially for it’s high Vitamin C content
– Horseradish – antioxidant properties, respiratory support, stimulates production of white blood cells, Vitamin C
– Ginger – immune system support, respiratory support, inflammation and pain support
– Turmeric – anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, liver support
– Black Pepper – helps with sinus, athsma and nasal congestion, expectorant, antibacterial, antioxidant
– Parsley – immune system support, anti-inflammatory
I actually let this sauerkraut ferment in my fermentation crock for 6 months. Not necessarily for any particular health-inspired reason, so I don’t necessarily recommend that length of time. I write this as a way of simply encouraging you to not be too afraid of fermenting. The things you of course want to be most careful with are hygiene while preparing your ferment. Beyond that though, feel free to add whatever ingredients your particular constitution is drawn to for a healthy sauerkraut such as this. I’m happy to report that after a lengthy 6 month fermentation, it came out great.
As part of making this sauerkraut, I ended up bottling the leftover juice into an Immune Boosting Elixir. If you plan on doing that, you’ll want to add some extra water to this recipe.
You’ll often hear the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but whenever colds and the flu harken near, I’d suggest opting for a forkful or two of this suaerkraut each day as well.
An immune boosting sauerkraut made with very healthy ingredients including ginger, turmeric, horseradish, parsley and others. Red cabbage is used due to it's heathy qualities.
- 4 lbs Red Cabbage
- 2 ounces fresh horseradish root, skinned
- 1.5 ounce fresh ginger root
- 1.25 ounce fresh turmeric root
- 1 cup fresh parsley (approx 2 ounces)
- 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons sea salt
- Prepare cabbage - Slice the cabbage into ribbons. Mine were about 3/8" (1 cm) wide. If you prefer to grate it, you can do that as well.
- Salt the cabbage - Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt, tossing well to distribute
- Allow to sweat - Let the cabbage sit for about 30 minutes until it begins to sweat.
- Prepare other ingredients - While the cabbage is sweating in the bowl, place the horseradish, ginger, turmeric and pepper into a food processor and chop until everything is in small pieces. Chop the parsley by hand.
- Combine ingredients - Combine all the ingredients together in the bowl.
- Place the ingredients in a Fermentation vessel - Take the combined ingredients and place them into your preferred fermentation vessel. I like to use this fermentation crock but increasingly I'm making batches in Mason jars with airlocks such as these.
- Compress - you'll want to compress the ingredients. For years, I simply used my fist but am enjoying using a compressor/pounder which helps immensely.
- Liquid should rise up - under pressure, the liquid released from the ingredients should rise up above the top of the ingredients. If it doesn't rise up sufficiently at first, you can give it some more time, another hour perhaps and try again. The salt should continue to break down cell walls and leach more liquid. If after a couple of repeated tries, the liquid still doesn't rise to fully cover the ingredients, you can add a half a cup of water or so, mixing thoroughly and then recompress.
- Place a weight on top - place the weight that comes with your crock on top of the ingredients. If you don't have a crock with a weight, you can use a ziplock bag partially filled with water as your weight. Ideally this bag will seal to the edges of your vessel. If using a mason jar, then these weights should do the trick.
- Wait impatiently - Let it sit at room temperature for anywhere from 3 -6 weeks or even longer if you like.
- Jar it up! - place in jars and refrigerate.
- Enjoy in good health!
I didn’t measure this sauerkraut when I first started the ferment, but after a month it had lowered to 3.49 where it stabilized. It’s not a requirement that you measure the pH of your sauerkrauts, but if you find the science aspects of fermentation as interesting as I do, you may want to invest in a digital pH tester. Besides testing your veggie and alcohol ferments, it can also come in handy with kombucha making.
Other articles of interest
Why Everyone Should Ferment with an Airlock
Measuring and Using Salt in Fermenting
What Equipment and Supplies Do I Need for Fermenting?
What are Prebiotics and Why Should I Care?
This is one of those sauerkrauts I simply place on the side of my plate as I’m eating a nice healthy meal. Sometimes I can be seen with a fork in my hand at an open refrigerator door, looking both directions to see if I’m being spotted before dipping deep into this jar for a forkful.
Your sauerkraut sounds delicious!
I want to share with you my tonic, which I’ve been making for years, so simple. I keep my ‘leftovers’ crock on my kitchen counter, never refrigerated, and continue to add the chopped remnants of all the vegetables I use for fermenting or general cooking. Once a month, I transfer the spicy, bubbling liquid to mason jars which I then keep in the refrigerator. The tonic is a combination of ginger, cabbage, bell peppers, hot peppers, copious amounts of fresh, chopped garlic, parsley, kale, squash, cukes, and lots of etcetera’s. Once a month, I scoop out all of the vegetables and use them as compost and begin again, leaving some of the fermented juice as a legacy starter, much like a sourdough mother.
What I do then, makes for a wonderful, sour tonic. I fill a glass halfway with fresh, home-fermented, whole at milk yogurt and the other with my tonic. I drink this concoction twice a day as either a between meal snack, or a complete meal. I know this is anecdotal, but I haven’t has as much as a sniffle in years! Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes!
Wow, that’s amazing! I live that idea. Not for the faint of heart, but I do love the concept! Thanks so much for sharing.
Hi Ted, I’m two weeks in the crock right now. Can’t wait to try it. I did add water so I could reap some elixir too. I stumbled across your website when searching for pickle recipes. And I got to tell you I prefer fermented pickles over the vinegar type. But I did add a wee bit of vinegar to one of my batches. I can’t believe how good the garlic cloves are too. They taste like the pickles. I’ve also made some ferm. jalapeno sauce. Man did that come out tasty. Then I added a combo of vinegar and wow what flavor. Thanks to you I’ve really learned a lot about fermentation. I’ve probably made beer about 25 times but never fermented food. Thanks so much!
This stuff is off the charts good. I made extra juice but not enough. I can’t walk by the fridge without taking a swig. I went so far as to sacrifice a quart jars worth just for the juice. Very tasty!
I tried your raw organic sauerkraut for the first time. The Best. How long will it last after I open it and keep it in the refrigerator. Thanks
Should likely be stable if refrigerated for a long time. Trust your senses, they should be the best judge.
I just started a batch of your sauerkraut, I do a lot of canning, any tips on processing times for pressure canning after fermentation?
Paul, I’ve never pressure canned my ferments. I prefer keeping the probiotics alive so simply tend to refrigerate. Because the pH is generally very low, ferments usually keep a long time. Fermentation is often used for preservation. Good luck!
Never, ever pressure-can fermented products. Ever. E-VER. You will kill every single ounce of goodness. The heat will do that. This is why I never buy commercial sauerkraut. It’s been heat-treated. The flavour is distinctly mild, and the benefits distinctly non-existent.
Keep the fermented product in a cool dark place (that’s right – the fridge). Do NOT freeze. That too, will break down the biotics and ruin the benefits. Providing you maintain pressure on the fermented vegetables, or under fluid, they will last a very long time. However, in my house, they actually rarely last more than a week. I eat them. Ravenously, and in a healthy-gluttonous way.
I totally agree! Thank you.
would it be ok to add carrots and scallions to this ferment?
Adding carrots and scallions should be fine. Sometimes carrots can make a ferment more active because of their higher sugar content, but should work out just fine. Good luck!
I’m making my first batch of your immune boosting sauerkraut. It’s Ben 10 days pop the lid and I have some collections of bubbles on top. Plus it doesn’t smell the best should I be worried? I have a picture but no place to post. Thank you.
Patches of bubbles generally reflect an active ferment. The scent you smell could be the horseradish (and ginger) which can be fairly intense, though they should settle over time with the fermentation. As always, you still need to be your own judge as to whether something is good. A clear sign that something has gone bad are obvious signs of mold. I’d say give is some more time and eventually give it a taste. Good luck!