Sauerkraut, ToothPaste and the 9-5

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I made my own sauerkraut and tooth paste today. It’s interesting how quickly our society traded in their small farms and local economies for the combo of going to a 40-60 hour per week job and buying things for ease, quickness and convenience because their jobs now took up all their time. Modern conveniences were advertised to promise the luxury of leisure time to spend with family or go fishing with your buddies, but it seems like instead we just kept working harder to buy our conveniences. We traded in hard work in the home for hard work in an office.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m all for the convenience of something like a washing machine instead of washing clothes by hand. In no way do I want to go back to the past and actually be a homesteader depending on just my own harvest to eat or washing my clothes by hand. On the other hand, some small changes just seem to be easy and fun..or delicious…or healthy. Making my own toothpaste and saurkraut may not afford me the savings to quit my day job, but it appears to be extremely healthy and easy. Likewise, it is an opportunity to disengage from a system that is resource heavy in using petroleum to package and ship goods.

There are lots of toothpaste recipes out there, which all use some combination of coconut oil, baking soda, calcium carbonate, salt, water, bentonite clay, xylitol, and essential oils.

I almost never follow recipes, but I’ll get you started with a link here:

I used baking soda, coconut oil and calcium carbonate; but the next batch I plan to add bentonite clay, xylitol and peppermint oil.

As for sauerkraut… simply wash your hands, shred one medium-large head of cabbage as thin as possible and massage a couple tablespoons of salt into the cabbage (in a bowl) like you are kneading bread for several minutes. It should taste pleasant, not overly salty. Let it sit covered for 30 minutes. Liquid will be forming at the bottom of the bowl, but if there is not enough liquid to cover the cabbage in a mason jar, then you can continue to massage and wait, or add some lemon juice.

Pack the cabbage into a quart mason jar. Add 1/3 cup at a time and press down firmly to pack tightly and remove air pockets. Use anything you can find with a flat bottom that will fit in the jar to pack it in. When filled, make sure liquid is covering all cabbage. Place a circle of cabbage leaf cut out to the size of the mason jar lid (using the mason jar lid ring) at the very top of the jar to keep all shredded cabbage below the surface of the liquid brine. Fill a pint mason jar with water and tighten lid; and use this as a weight on top of your quart sized mason jar to keep all cabbage submerged under the brine. Place a towel or cheesecloth over the entire container with a rubber band to hold it in place. Press down on it a few times per day. Keep it out of the sunlight. It should be ready to eat in 3-10 days. Fermentation takes place quicker at higher temperatures. Refrigerate once it is done fermenting and taste the way you like it.

I chose to take on the task of making these two products because I had a natural interest in doing so. I think they are small projects/tasks that have a very high ratio of benefit to effort expended; meaning that with minimal effort, I get big results for my family’s health.

I have not had great success with commercial toothpastes and gum health. With this toothpaste, I believe the research is promising in that these natural ingredients remove toxins, harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay, and improve overall health. With the sauerkraut, I choose to believe the research that says our gut bacteria is the key to our mental and physical health. It amazes me that one of the most inexpensive products (cabbage and salt), with a natural fermentation process, can promote our beneficial gut bacteria as well or better than expensive probiotic and prebiotic supplements.

I always took it for granted that I went to a grocery store to get everything that I needed. I was raised this way. It remains a marvelous thing. Nevertheless, I believe there are healthier ways to make some of these products and it feels good to make something for yourself and your family when you care about your health, the planet, and just feeling good about what you do and what you put in your mouth.

From our family to yours,

Ian Chittle


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