Do you always throw away your sauerkraut juice after fermenting? You are missing out on a chock full of nutrients that can benefit your body!
I love my vegetables but I always struggled with the sugar content in some. I found myself eating less beetroot, pickles, and cabbage because of the high sugar content. The struggle with weight loss continued until I discovered the hidden secret of fermented vegetables. I tried fermenting pickles and beet right home and loved it. My next stop? Fermented cabbage which is widely known as sauerkraut. Like most of my fermented veggies, I usually throw the brine away. A fellow veggie-lover hinted that sauerkraut brine is reusable and I decided to try it.
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How do you ferment sauerkraut?
The key to a good sauerkraut brine is dependent on the quality of the fermentation process. Forget about store-bought brine or the need for sophisticated equipment. It is possible to make fermented kraut right at home using everyday tools.
For your sauerkraut brine, you will need the following ingredients;
- Sea salt or Kosher salt
- Vegetable shredder
- Mixing bowl
- An air-tight container
First things first, ensure all the tools you are going to use are squeaky clean. You do not want to contaminate your brine with bacteria or impurities. Also, ensure you use fresh cabbage for the best results.
Clean the cabbage before shredding it. A kitchen knife can cut the cabbage into small pieces as well. the amount of cabbage you use depends on your needs. If it is your first time to make sauerkraut brine, experiment with half or one whole cabbage.
Toss the shredded cabbage into the mixing bowl so you can add the salt. There are two ways to salt your shredded cabbage. The first option is mixing the salt with the cabbage before adding water. The other option is adding salt to boiling water for it to dissolve faster.
Ensure the salt to cabbage mixing ratio is consistent for large amounts of brine. After mixing, transfer the contents into the air-tight storage jar.
The best fermentation jars feature enamel, glass, or earthenware materials. Store-bought glass jars with airtight leads are cheap and easy to obtain. You may also order an earthen pot or crock which you will use for your fermented cabbage brine. Crocks are large enough for making copious amounts of brine.
If using a crock, line the bottom with two whole cabbage leaves. Pour the contents of the brine and cover the top with two cabbage leaves as well. This creates an airtight environment for successful fermentation.
For the first-timer, pour the salt-cabbage contents into a small jar and cover it with an airtight lead. You can pour a layer of olive oil on top to seal off any air from entering the jar.
There is no harm in experimenting with other ingredients on your sauerkraut. You can add spices or other vegetables like carrots, onions, or beets into your sauerkraut. Let your imagination run wild!
Ways to use sauerkraut juice
A Healthy Drink
Sauerkraut juice is the perfect healthy drink to charge up your morning. It packs enzymes and probiotics that warm up your guy for a healthy breakfast or brunch. If you do not mind its tangy savory flavor, then go ahead and pour yourself a drink.
As an acid in salads
Kraut brine can replace vinegar or lemon. Since it is freshly fermented it has more lactic acid to spruce the flavor of your salads.
Do you like your soups savory? Fermented cabbage juice not only adds a tangy flavor but also packs loads of vitamins and minerals that will benefit your body.
Sauerkraut brine adds a salty and tangy flavor to your stews. It makes flavors to pop allowing you to enjoy every scoop of your stew.
To make savory dips
Are you making homemade potato chips tonight? Why not add kraut brine to your guacamole dip? Your snacking habits will never be the same.
Speed up fermentation
Sauerkraut brine can speed up the fermentation process. If you are making more vegetable brine, add the old kraut juice to trigger fermentation.
For mixing cocktails
Kraut juice can add an extra kick to your Rum punch. As you share a drink with friends, you are also adding vital nutrients to your body
Fermented cabbage juice packs a lot of lactic acid. This acid helps clear acne and blemishes from your face. It helps you achieve an even skin tone without investing in expensive cosmetic products.
As a marinade
Use kraut juice to marinate your meat before grilling or frying. The lactic acid in the brine helps to decontaminate the meat.
Can Sauerkraut go bad?
Fermentation is an age-old trick for preserving food longer. The process releases lactic acid into the brine. This helps to stop harmful bacteria, that causes decay, from multiplying.
So, does sauerkraut go bad if not refrigerated or stored in a sealed container? The only trick on how to tell if sauerkraut is bad is by tasting the brine. If it is too sour, then you cannot use it anymore.
When sauerkraut brine sits in low temperature, it slows down the fermentation process. Any increase in temperature speeds up fermentation which makes the brine more bitter. You only want the brine to have a savory tangy flavor.
Homemade sauerkraut juice packs lots of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. You can use it in food, drinks, and on your face. Once I discovered the benefits of sauerkraut, I have never gone back to normal cabbage.
How long to ferment sauerkraut?
It takes 2 to 5 weeks to ferment sauerkraut. The longer the brine ferments, the more pronounced the tangy flavor
Why is my sauerkraut mushy?
The mush results from probiotic bacteria growing too early in the fermentation process. Store the sauerkraut in lower temperature to slow down fermentation.
How does sauerkraut smell?
Fermented brine has a savory smell like vinegar. If you get a rotten smell, do not use the kraut or its brine.
Does rinsing sauerkraut reduce bacteria?
If your kraut is too salty, rinsing helps tone down the salty. The sauerkraut still has a good amount of bacteria after rinsing.