Unpasteurized sauerkraut is tasty, packed full of goodness and easy to make. Throughout history, the main ingredient, cabbage, has been called "the physician of the poor" because of its healing powers. Cabbage leaves have been used externally to cure abscesses, gangrene, gout, bruises and bronchial asthma.

Regular consumption of sauerkraut is also known to initiate many healing processes and lactic acid fermentation helps keep the digestive system fit and well. Try our recipe for making unpasteurized sauerkraut at home. It's good and good for you!

Sauerkraut: Simple and Nutritious

Use either a 10-litre crock or two four-litre glass jars.

17 1/2 lbs (8 kg) white cabbage
11/2 Tbsp (17 mL) caraway seeds
7 Tbsp (105 mL) pickling or sea salt
10 juniper berries
3-4 sour apples (optional)
1/4 quart (1/4 litre) whey (optional)

Pick firm green cabbage heads. Wash and remove all loose leaves. Cut head into quarters, remove inside core and grate cabbage into a large bowl. Add salt, caraway and juniper berries and mix thoroughly.

Pack layer after layer tightly into the crock or jar. Use your fist or a potato masher to press down the cabbage until brine appears.

Fill the crock to 80 percent, making sure the brine covers the cabbage, then cover with a few of the outer cabbage leaves. Add a plate with a weight on top (a clean rock works well). Drape a clean tea towel over the crock.

If you use glass jars, pack the cabbage to one inch (two and a half centimetres) below the rim. Close lids tightly.

Place the crock or sealed jars on a towel in a dark, warm (20-22°C or 68-72°F) place. Don't worry if liquid dribbles down the sides. This is normal! A few days later move jars to a cool dark place (about 15°C or 59°F) for two to three weeks, then to a cold place, ideally between zero and 10°C or 32-5°F. You should be able to enjoy eating the sauerkraut after four weeks, but like wine it tastes even better with age. Refrigerate open jars.