How to Make Fermented Cabbage Juice at Home
1. A good blender – As long as the blades turn and are capable of shredding cabbage, any ole’ blender will do, no need for a Vitamix! :o)
2. A fermentation container – The container doesn’t have to be fancy, but it will need to be covered, as fermenting cabbage juice is an anaerobic process (no oxygen). The container should hold about six liters, although one can easily adjust the amount of cabbage juice one desires to produce to ‘fit the container’. UPDATE: You can use actual fermentation containers. Use about 2-3 medium sized cabbages in this 8 Liter container available via Amazon.com: Fermentation Container.
3. Two heads of cabbage – organic preferred. One may use red or green cabbage, or a combination of both (as will be explained below).
4. 1/2 bulb of fresh garlic – Trust me, it makes the whole process better: Better fermentation, better tasting, and more nutritious!
6. Good quality purified water or high quality spring water… nothing antimicrobial.
Instructions: How to Ferment the Cabbage Juice
To start, slice one head of cabbage into two, and set one half cabbage aside. To make it easier to fit into the blender, always chop up the cabbage into smaller pieces just prior to placing the cabbage into the blender. Each blender batch requires 1/2 head of cabbage. Therefore, one head of cabbage will require blending twice.
Begin by adding roughly one liter of water into the blender. Next, place 1/2 bulb of garlic into the blender. Then, add the chopped cabbage. You may have to partially blend some of the cabbage in order to fit the rest in. Once the full half head of cabbage is in the blender, blend on high for one full minute.
From the blender, pour the blended cabbage into the fermentation vessel.
Next, repeat step one for as many half-heads of cabbage as you’d like to make. We recommend making the equivalent of two full heads of cabbage juice per fermentation batch, which should be somewhere near six liters of blended cabbage and water. If there is a bit more or less water used, it is just fine.
Finally, once you’ve completed steps one and two, give the whole thing a few good stirs with a large spoon or stirring rod. This is especially important if you (optional) decide to add Effective Microorgansims, SCDs, or Kenetic Starter Culture. Adding your own microorganisms is one way to improve the quality of the probiotic blend.
Once completed, simply cover the fermentation vessel so that it is close to air tight. If you over-compress the lid, it, too much pressure might built up and the container may start to leak. If you place the lid on the container too loosely, this will result in too much air inside the container. Luckily, you don’t have to get it perfect in order to make a high quality batch. There is plenty of room for forgiveness.
Leave the whole thing alone at room temperature (75 degrees F “ish”) for three full days. If desired, you can ferment a bit longer, up to five days.
The last step in preperation is straining. Before use, you will need to strain the juice into clean containers with lids for refrigeration. One may use a metal strainer, or cheese cloth. The fewer the large fibers in the end cabbage juice, the better the taste.
Refrigerated fermented cabbage juice will easily last weeks. For best results, one half cup should be consumed with each meal. For individuals with very troubled digestive systems, one may wish to build up slowly. The greater the reaction upon starting cabbage juice (rumbling, gas, etc.), the more the cabbage juice is needed. Individuals who are able to stick with it through the adjustment period should have stabilized digestion in about six weeks of use.
Fermented cabbage juice should always be refrigerated and used within three weeks of fermentation.
Why the Green and Red Cabbage?
You can make fermented cabbage juice using only red cabbage, but the digestive healing effect will not be the same. The fermented brew will be more nutrient-dense, less probiotic dense, and have a sweeter, more potent taste.
You can make fermented cabbage juice with only green cabbage. It will have a much stronger smell, but a very light taste, and act as a very powerful probiotic drink.
Combining the two is fun and colorful, and one gets a mix of dense nutrients and powerful probiotic action. I encourage individuals to experiment with ratios to find a blend that best suits them.
For individuals who simply want the drink with the highest amount of probiotics, use green cabbage alone.
Why the Fresh Garlic?
As well as being super healthy and anti-pathogenic in its own right, the addition of raw garlic to the fermentation process will speed up the “destruction” of the “bad” microbes that naturally occur in the cabbage. While the lactobacteria will eventually dominate the common unhealthy microbes in the cabbage while fermenting, the garlic makes certain this occurs in the three-day time period.
Why do we use Effective Microorganisms / SCD?
We add about one ounce of Effective microorganisms to each brew. EM’s and lactobacteria are very compatible. While “effective microorganisms” are actually a self-sustaining ecosystem made up of several microbes, the sole purpose of the ecosystem is to preserve a very rare type of microbe called a photosynthetic microorganism. While not commonly used in the United States or the western world in health, in Japan, these amazing microbes have shown great promise for a myriad of health promoting uses. To give one example, these microorganisms eat what to us is waste products, and in return, they produce antioxidants. They are extremely resilient in anaerobic environments, and can out-compete most pathogenic organisms for food. They also feed on dead fungi. They make a perfect and harmonious addition to the fermented cabbage juice process.
When you cultivate these organisms on their own, they are a brilliant purple color, just a bit lighter in color than the purplish fermented cabbage juice image above. Any one interested should really obtain and read the book(s) of Dr. Higa.