Making kraut juice is nearly the easiest and cheapest probiotic you can make at home. Kraut juice is gentle on the stomach which makes it easy for digestion and is encouraged starting at the earliest stages of GAPS. Kraut juice will ease constipation and help repopulate your good gut flora according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, neurologist, neurosurgeon and author of GAPS (affiliate link).
There are many ways to make kraut juice, this one is adapted from Nourishing Traditions (affiliate link).
This recipe will give you three gallons of kraut juice. Don’t fret, it goes faster than you think. Even those in the house who are not on GAPS throw elbows over kraut juice.
Be sure to use an organic head of cabbage. Sally Fallon says sauerkraut has 200 times more bioavailable vitamin C because the fermenting process makes the nutrient from the cabbage digestible and available. The same it true for kraut juice. Vitamin C is a fantastic detoxer, vital to GAPS patients so you want a head of cabbage with the most vitamin C possible – organic.
Take a large head of cabbage and chop it up in the Vitamix ( by floating cubes of cabbage), food processor or mandolin (affiliate link). Five pounds is roughly the right size. The smaller the pieces the faster it will ferment. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons (for a large head of cabbage) salt on top and stir thoroughly. Now you have a couple of choices: pound the kraut or ignore it and let it sit. The larger the chopped pieces the less it will open the cell walls if it just sits.
I let mine sit while I do other work. Let it sit anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight. The salt will do the work for you if your cabbage is shredded into small bits. What you’re looking for is the extracted juices and limp cabbage. The salt is breaking down the cellular structure, allowing the juice of the cabbage to release.
Put your lids on and let them sit on the counter for 9-12 days, preferably in a dark cool place. The amount of time for leaving out kraut juice as it brews depends on where you live, temperature is important. The other factors that make a huge difference in reference to mold growth are salt content and air. If air is accessible to your brew it will mold faster. If leaving the brew out concerns you do a shorter brew on the counter-top and then complete the brewing process in the refrigerator. This will prevent mold growth. There is no absolute rule on time for brewing as these extra factors play an important role in the process. The variables of salt, air, sinking vs floating vegetables, nutrition of cabbage head, temperature and sunlight all play a factor. You need to find what works best for you and your kitchen as well as what is tolerable to your body. Those with the deepest gut damage to the microbiome need to allow their brew to sit for 4 months for no histamine response.
I stick my brewing jars under a towel in the corner of the counter-top near the air conditioning vent. Sometimes the cabbage floats, sometimes it sinks, it really doesn’t matter. If the kraut juice ferments too long and white yeast forms on the top just scoop it off and throw it away. The product is still good.
Refrigerate and enjoy.
*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. firstname.lastname@example.org
“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.
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