", sour or acid, as in "salzsäure", hydrochloric acid; "kraut
", greens or herbs).
According to The Body Ecology Diet (see below), uncooked and unsalted sauerkraut is "an excellent source of vitamin C". A second resource (URL cited below) indicates that 100g of raw cabbage contains 53.7% of the US RDA of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and some folacin, potassium, and dietary fiber. The more interesting aspect of sauerkraut is its lactobacillus (acidophilus) and enzyme content, and unfortunately, these are killed/destroyed in pasteurization of the familiar jarred sauerkraut. The author, Donna Gates, offers the following "beginner's recipe" for preparing homemade sauerkraut (passed down to her from Evan Richards of Rejuvenative Foods in Santa Cruz, CA):
Use fresh, crisp, flavorful, well-cleaned vegetables that are "not too mature". Grind up a minimum of 10 heads of organic cabbages (rinsed and shaken to remove excess water), 2 green to one red, in a food processor. Then place them in a stainless steel mixing bowl and pound with a heavy, blunt object until they become a little juicy. While beating, add 3/4 to one cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (more vitamin C), and 3 tbsp. of dried dill, for every 3 heads of cabbage. Put this mixture in a crock or stainless steel stockpot. Don't completely fill the pot, as the fermentation will expand the sauerkraut. Completely cover it with at least two layers of cabbage leaves, weigh down the leaves evenly with as wide a plate as possible, and press down to compress the cabbage. Weigh the plate down further (Gates recommends a closed jar of 2/3 pint of water for weight), to keep the pressure even, but not so much that the juice is forced above the fermenting cabbage. Cover the pot with a clean towel (keeps bugs and airborne mold spores out), and let ferment in a well-ventilated room, 60-70° F, for 5-7 days (5-6 days at 70°, 6-7 at 60°). Check a few times in the first day-and-a-half to make sure the plate is resting evenly on the cabbage.
When you're done fermenting your 'kraut, discard the leaves and any discolored cabbage on top, and refrigerate it in glass jars. It should be brightly colored, juicy, and sweet. It should keep 4-8 months at 34° F. Do not freeze it or cook it, as these destroy the healthy bacteria and enzymes - and they're the whole point.
Gates suggests variations with the addition of beets, carrots, garlic, celery, onions, and/or red pepper; sea vegetables like kelp, hijiki, and arame; dill, caraway, juniper berries, and thyme; and even replacing the cabbage entirely with daikon. If you use other vegetables, layer them in the cabbage. I suppose bok choy would work just as well.
Gates further claims that this homemade sauerkraut helps alleviate morning sickness, and that small spoonsful of the juice can be fed to baby to help relieve colic.
The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering your health & rebuilding your immunity, 6th edition, by Donna Gates with Linda Schatz. ©1996 by Donna Gates, published by B.E.D. Publications, Atlanta, GA.