How to Make Spicy Carrot Sauerkraut, A Recipe (Fermented. Delicious. Full of Probiotics.)
Raw fermented foods. The very word "fermented" may conjure up deliciousness…or rottenness, depending on your personal experiences. But when done right, there is simply very little better for you than a good batch of raw fermented vegetables, such as this Spicy Carrot Sauerkraut recipe.
In fact, your body might be craving delicious fermented foods! I see instances like this ALL the time: One day my friend brought her teenage daughter by because she thought she might be interested in looking into herbalism and asked me to show her some of the things I do.
While explaining what I did with all those mysterious bottles and jars of herbs, infused oils, and tinctures, I asked her if she'd like a little snack. I gave her a little bowl of homemade raw fermented cabbage---otherwise known as sauerkraut. Well, that little gal ended up eating the entire jar! Right there!
This is not the first time I've seen this happen to people experiencing raw fermented foods for the first time. To me it speaks to the human body's ability to know when a food is needed for its survival. It's almost a desperation.
Raw fermentation is incredibly healthy for your micro-biome---otherwise known as your gut-health, your body’s second brain, and inner flora.
You can find out more about what fermentation is and why you should eat fermented foods every day in this article.
You can also find out more about some common myths and misconceptions about fermentation here. I hope to dispel any notions you may have that raw fermented foods are problematic, difficult to make, or dangerous.
What is fermentation in a nutshell?
It’s simply a traditional method of preserving vegetables, fruits, dairy and even meat. So, enjoy this spicy twist on traditional purple sauerkraut made with red cabbage and carrots. You'll absolutely go bonkers for this fermented spicy carrot sauerkraut!
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How to Make Spicy Carrot Sauerkraut: A Recipe
I love this stuff. I can eat sauerkraut every single day. In fact, I often eat it more than once a day! It's addicting. If you don't like a lot of spice, adjust accordingly for your tastes. The combination of crunchy carrots add a hint of a different texture, along with the sugars contained in the carrots. It's truly a delicious little snack!
Ingredients for Spicy Carrot Sauerkraut:
1 organic red cabbage
2 organic carrots, unpeeled, shredded
Dried red pepper (I used dried peppers from my garden, but you can use red pepper flakes too)
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoons sea salt
Optional: 1/4 cup whey or leftover brine from a recent ferment or some fermented kvass. You can find out how to make whey in this article. And here is a great recipe for basic beet kvass, in case you’d like to experience an amazing drink filled with natural electrolytes!
Whey is the starter, and will help speed up the fermentation process. Some people use a starter all the time, and others are not fans of this method. I usually try to add the starter, but not always. If you are sure to add enough salt, the starter is not necessary.
Directions for Spicy Carrot Sauerkraut:
Step 1) Remove the top layer of leaves from the cabbage. Compost these. Then remove one more set of leaves---this leaf(ves) will be used to cover the sauerkraut as it ferments later on, so just set it aside.
Step 2) Chop up the cabbage into smallish pieces or strips.
Step 3) Shred the carrots. If they are organic, just clean them well, but if they are not, I'd peel them first.
Step 4) Mince your garlic and cut up your peppers. Since my peppers were dried out, I just crumbled them up.
Step 5) Add everything to a large bowl, along with the salt.
Step 6) Using a sauerkraut pounder of some type, pound that cabbage good. This releases the juices from the cabbage, reducing the amount of water you'll need to add and the potential problem of juices leaking out of the jar as the fermentation process takes place.
Step 7) Now press this mixture into a Mason jar (or possibly two). You want to really pack the vegetables into the jar well.
Step 9) Fill the remainder as needed with water until the cabbage is barely covered.
Step 10) Tuck the cabbage leaf you saved from step 1 around the sauerkraut and down the sides of the jar. Press down well.
Step 11) Using some type of fermentation weight, be sure all the vegetable matter is submerged in the water, which is actually a brine because of the salt you added earlier. This liquid helps keep the good bacteria and yeast thriving while creating an inhospitable environment for the bad micro-organisms, like mold, etc.
Step 12) Now put on your airlock if you are using one. If you choose not to or don't have one, then use a regular Mason jar lid and plan to "burp" your ferment daily as the gases will build up. The airlock allows the gases to release without allowing any air into the jar. Either way is just fine!
Step 13) Set your jar in a quiet place to ferment for several days or even weeks. The longer you allow your sauerkraut to ferment, the more flavorful it will become.
You can do taste tests after about a week, and when you like the way it is, just put it in the fridge. This slows down the fermentation but doesn’t stop it.
I left mine for about three weeks, and it was gone long before it went bad.....delicious!
Step 14) Once your sauerkraut is done, ENJOY! :-)
Final Thoughts on Spicy Carrot Sauerkraut: A Traditional Fermentation Recipe
OMGosh! I love this stuff! So does Mr. V. And anyone else who tastes it! If you’re in the camp of folks who believe fermentation reminds them of decomposing plant matter, you haven’t tasted fresh, incredible fermented veggies.
You can eat it straight out of the jar, or you can use it as a delicious side dish. It's also great in salads or cold pasta dishes. You can cook with it if you like, but keep in mind that intense heat will kill the good probiotics, so go easy. I love eating it with scrambled eggs!
Sauerkraut is one of the easiest gateway fermentation recipes to learning how to ferment even more diverse vegetables to give your body an important health boost. This spicy twist on an old favorite is one I'll be making again and again, and I hope you will too!
What is your favorite fermented food? Are you a person who is still a bit hesitant about trying to create your own fermented foods? If you have questions, please leave them in the comments! And as always, anything you want to say is welcome too! :-)
You might also be interested in these related articles:
There are a ton more over on the blog, too. So head on over and browse around! :-)
Hugs, Self-Reliance, & Natural Health,
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