Just in case you didn't know, sauerkraut (although I naively thought it was a German concoction) was actually eaten by Roman soldiers, Chinese builders of the Great Wall, and many a sailor to prevent scurvy. It has become known as a super-food, being credited with boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, detoxifying the body, aiding digestion, and curing colds and flu.
Because of all the health benefits, I thought I'd give a homemade version a try. I like a little zing in my food so when I saw this recipe had red pepper flakes in it, it just spoke to me. Of course, if you don't like zingy food you can leave them out or if you are really zingy, add more.
Also, because you are making it at home, you stop the fermentation process virtually at any time by placing it in the refrigerator. In my cool house, it takes about 7 days before my batch of cortido is ready to eat. At this point, it is still a little bit crisp, which I like. And because it hasn't had the living daylights cooked out of it, it is chock-full of wonderful vitamins and enzymes.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
A Latin American Sauerkraut from Nourishing Traditionsby Sally Fallon
- 1 large cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 cup carrots, grated
- 2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise and very finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
- In a large non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic) mix cabbage with carrots, onions, oregano, red pepper flakes, sea salt and whey.
- Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices.
- Place in 2 quart-sized, wide mouth mason jars and press down firmly with the pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage mixture should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jars.
- Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.