Sauerkraut is well-known - sometimes loved, sometimes reviled - on its own merits. But the preparation of sauerkraut comes with an unexpected side effect: the production of sauerkraut juice, which is more often than not needlessly wasted. This juice, however, is quite stimulating in its own right, and can often be used as a digestive tonic.
Things You'll Need
- 5 pounds cabbage
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- Fruits and vegetables
- 1-gallon ceramic crock
- Crock cover (ex., plate)
- Weight (clean)
- Cloth cover
Make your sauerkraut: chop, grate, and otherwise prepare your cabbage accordingly to your preferences. As you do so, add three tablespoons of salt for every five pounds of cabbage, to both preserve the cabbage and to create the preservative brine.
Add fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, etc. Mix your ingredients together well, and and pack them into a ceramic crock. Add a little at a time, and crush it down after each addition. Leave some room to add the stopper.
Place a plate snugly and evenly inside the crock (not just on top). Weigh down the plug with a clean weight, and cover the whole thing both the crock and weight with a cloth.
Press down on the plug periodically - as often as every few hours. Within twenty-four hours, the brine should rise above the cover. If the brine has not yet risen within a day, add salt water (one teaspoon salt to each cup of water) until it does. Let the crock ferment in a corner.
Check on the kraut's progress every day or two. Scrape off any mold you find on its surface, wash off the plate and weight, and taste test each time as the flavor strengthens - it will do so much more quickly in hot summer temperatures.
Remove a bowl of sauerkraut at a time over the next several weeks. After the sauerkraut has been eaten, the brine left behind is the sauerkraut juice.
Tips & Warnings
- Athletes may also partake of the juice to replenish their salts after a workout.
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