Sauerkraut juice tastes pleasantly mild, but has a bit of a sour flavor. It is made from natural fermented white cabbage and is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.
From Wikipedia: “Sauerkraut juice is a vegetable juice made from squeezed raw sauerkraut.*” Although sauerkraut is low in calories and fat-free, the production process causes it to have higher sodium values. However, there are now several “low-salt” products available.
“Sauerkraut juice contains high levels of vitamin C, lactic acid, and live lactic acid bacteria. It is known for its ability to stimulate digestion.*”
Depending on the brand, 100 g usually contains between 10 to 15 calories, about 1.5 grams of carbohydrates, and a water content of over 97 percent.
Sauerkraut juice is used to treat bloating, constipation, and digestion problems. The large amount of lactic acid and vitamin C help support the intestine and regulate digestion. Sauerkraut juice is also used as a component of several detox and cleansing programs.
Production of sauerkraut:
“Sauerkraut is made by a process of pickling called lactic acid fermentation that is analogous to how traditional (not heat-treated) pickled cucumbers and kimchi are made. The cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt, and left to ferment. Fully cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight container stored at 15 °C (60 °F) or below. Neither refrigeration nor pasteurization is required, although these treatments prolong storage life.
Fermentation by lactobacilli is introduced naturally, as these air-borne bacteria culture on raw cabbage leaves where they grow. Yeasts also are present, and may yield soft sauerkraut of poor flavor when the fermentation temperature is too high. The fermentation process has three phases, collectively sometimes referred to as population dynamics. In the first phase, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter lead the fermentation, and begin producing an acidic environment that favors later bacteria. The second phase starts as the acid levels become too high for many bacteria, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. take dominance. In the third phase, various Lactobacillus species, including L. brevis and L. plantarum, ferment any remaining sugars, further lowering the pH. Properly cured sauerkraut is sufficiently acidic to prevent a favorable environment for the "growing" of Clostridium botulinum, the toxins of which cause botulism.”
Making your own sauerkraut juice:
General information: To make just under one liter of sauerkraut, you will need 250–300 grams of white cabbage and 750 milliliters of water as well as a container that is well suited for the fermentation process. If you plan to make more fermented foods in the future, we recommend you buy special fermentation crocks. These traditional crocks are designed specially for fermentation; they are odorless and easy to clean. You can also use them to ferment other types of vegetables, such as cucumbers, red beets, and zucchini.
Procedure: Wash the white cabbage and cut off any damaged or discolored pieces. Finely cut the cabbage and then use your hands to knead it well. Place in the container and press down well. If you are using less cabbage, place a weight on top so that the cabbage stays firmly pressed together. Add the water and make sure that the cabbage is covered with water during the entire fermentation process. Close the container so that it is not quite airtight to allow the fermentation gases that form to escape, but also make sure that the lid is on tight enough. Otherwise, fermentation won’t take place. Let the cabbage ferment in a warm place for 3–4 days. Then pour off the sauerkraut juice and serve. If necessary, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 48 days.
Raw vs. store-bought sauerkraut:
“Raw sauerkraut is distinctly different from store-bought, canned sauerkraut. While many food manufacturers can or jar their kraut using heat in order to extend shelf life, raw sauerkraut is lacto-fermented and is alive with good bacteria and probiotics. Raw sauerkraut is fermented over days or weeks at room temperature, packaged into jars with its own brine solution, then refrigerated to preserve the vitamins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria without any heat.”
Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia entry