Ever wonder how certain foods affect your body?

Do you want to know which ingredients can help support your health?

Are you looking for new creative recipes?

Welcome to our Food for Thought blog series that will aim to address these questions and more each month! Tune in for expert nutritional tips from Masha Fox-Rabinovich, outpatient dietitian and diabetes educator at Washington Adventist Hospital, and savvy cooking techniques from Randall Smith, executive chef for Adventist HealthCare.

Chef Randall

Chef Randall Smith, executive chef for Adventist HealthCare, is the author of “Farm Fresh Flavors”, an invaluable guide for cooking with fresh, local ingredients. Learn more at www.cooklocalfood.com or follow @cooklocalfood

If we lived on a farm 100 or so years ago, by this time of year we would be living on the last of the stored turnips and potatoes and whatever canned and pickled vegetables we were able to “put up” for the winter. I had a Polish grandmother and she did live on a farm 100 or so years ago and the desire to make sauerkraut was deep in her bones. I remember being terrified by the whispering crock of kraut residing under the basement stairs. It seemed like something that might come alive unexpectedly. I still experience a twinge of mystery when I prepare and eat sauerkraut. That seems a nice payoff for a little cabbage and salt.

Recipe: Simple Sauerkraut


  • 5 lbs. Fresh Cabbage
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt


  • Clean any wilted wrapper leaves from heads.
  • Quarter or halve the cabbages, remove the core and shred thin with a knife or food processor.
  • Layer cabbage and salt in in a crock or large jar and tamp down each layer until container s nearly full but still has a little space for the kraut to “work”.
  • Let wilt for a few minutes and tamp down a final time. Some liquid should have been drawn out of the cabbage by the salt.
  • Tuck a few sheets of cheesecloth over surface of cabbage and set a plate or cover on top that just fits inside, exposing as little of cabbage to air as possible.
  • Place some kind of weight on the cover. This can be a full jar or can, or a clean stone. The liquid should not go over the top of the cover. Adjust the weight if you need to.
  • Store to ferment in an out-of-the-way place (like under grandma’s stairs) with a room temperature of 65 to 75 degrees.

Note: The whispering gas bubbles signal that fermentation is occurring.

  • Adjust weight occasionally to make sure cover is not submerged.  Let work until bubbling stops, about 5 to 6 weeks.
  • Once fermentation is complete, kraut will keep in the refrigerator for several months and can be frozen indefinitely.

What foods are you curious about?  We’d like to hear from you. Please share your questions in the comments section below.