Hmm, there is so much I don't know about being pregnant... Just found out deli meats aren't ok, and it was the one thing I've been craving and eating for two weeks (well, for lunch anyway, but still!). So minor freak out there. Anyway, on to my question - husband and I grow most of our own food and we preserve it as well. We have a lot of sauerkraut (raw, unpasteurized) and lactic acid fermented pickles (no vinegar). The sauerkraut has been amazing for my morning sickness but now I'm wondering if I should be not eating them. Google comes up with benefits of raw sauerkraut in pregnancy (especially for morning sickness, as I found out), but I was just wondering if anyone has any personal experience with this. One place I read that it's good to protect you from listeria even...
i googled it, and i didn't find much of anything only pregnancy related thing i found was this
"Sauerkraut is sought after not only for its flavor but also its amazing health benefits. Recent research says that sauerkraut when eaten by women during pregnancy can prevent babies from developing certain types of childhood cancer."
Alright, here goes recipe - very simple!!!
Get some cabbage, the lighter in color the better, but green ones are ok too, as are the red ones if you want a colorful mix. Also get some carrots. And some non iodized salt (can be called pickling salt, or kosher salt). You'll also need some kind of container, either a pot (I sometimes use a large metal pot, but I prefer to use a plastic bucket cause I feel like some metal flavor seeps into the kraut, but it could be just in my head) or a bucket or a glass jar but with a wide mouth (*see weight problem below).
The ratio is: for each head of cabbage use about one carrot and about one tablespoon of salt. (Carrots are not essential. If you don't like them, no need to add them at all.)
Chop the cabbage whichever way you like. Some people like it skinny, others wider. Peel and grate the carrots on the largest grater. Mix cabbage with carrots in a large bowl and add the salt. Add the salt slowly and taste before you add all of it because maybe you would prefer it a little less salty. Don't add too little because the salt will keep bad bacteria from growing but don't add so much that it tastes bad. I find the ratio above works well for me but a pinch less or more isn't going to harm the thing. It should taste like a salted cabbage salad... If too much salt is added and it tastes to salty, add more cabbage.
While mixing the salt kneed the cabbage mix a bit, kind of crunch it between your hands a few times to get some juices flowing. No need to make it into a mush, just three or four crunches or a punch or two at the bowl is enough. It's a great way to get the aggression out! If you like softer sauerkraut, feel free to crunch it more but it will soften with fermentation in time anyway.
Transfer your mix to the pot/bucket/jar of choice. Pack it down tightly. Next you will need to weigh it down. With a bucket or pot I place a plate that is a little smaller than the diameter of the pot on top of the mix and then place my weight on that. Jars can be complicated for this reason, it's hard to stick things in and then take them out again. The weight can be a heavy rock, but I take some of my husband's weights, put them in a ziplock bag and place them in a bowl, and put that on top of the plate. The purpose of the weights is to get the juices to flow and to keep the kraut submerged in it's juices. Make sure that there is enough room above the weight to allow a cover to be placed on top of the pot or bucket. It doesn't have to be airtight, just a lid of sorts.
Ok, so now you leave it to sit for about a week at room temperature. The fermentation will begin shortly and it will start producing bubbles/gas which will smell a bit, but mostly like kraut and a bit like fart. Each day, ideally twice a day, you need to poke the kraut with a knife to help release the gases. The way I do is by lifting the weight and plate, poking all over with a knife, then putting the plate and weight back down and giving it a good push to release final trapped gases. My husband doesn't bother with the knife, he just pushes down on the weight. My grandpa, who is kraut master, doesn't take the weight out, just pokes the knife around the edges of the plate. So there are many ways to do this. Don't panic if you forget to do it one time.
So you do this for about a week. The bubbling should stop or diminish significantly, and that's when kraut is done. At this point I usually transfer the kraut and juice to a glass jar and stick it in the fridge. Mine keeps for at least a year.
Well I hope I explained it ok. If you have any questions let me know!
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