Home Made Sauerkraut & Fermented Vegetables
Cultured foods have been an integral part of the healthiest diets for thousands of years and are essential to a long, vibrant life. When I speak to Polish friends, they tell me how they grew up eating saeurkraut. When living in Chertsey, SURREY, I used to visit a lovely Polish shop in Feltham that sold amazing RAW saeurkraut by the tonne ! I was in HEAVEN !!!
Cultured or fermented foods give birth to a lavish inner ecosystem, building resistance to infections, and greatly enhancing digestion. Cultured vegetables help take away cravings for sweets, soft drinks, bread, pasta, dairy, fruit and other expansive foods.
But are you buying processed sauerkraut from supermarkets? These can be full of chemicals and preservatives such as sodium benzoate. Worst off, the chemicals are killing off the good bacterias (probiotics ) in them which defeats the purpose of consuming fermented foods and the enzymes in the veggies are destroyed if they have been pasteurized . The heat also kills the good bacterias. Health food shops do sell refrigerated raw varieties but why pay £5 a jar when you can make your own for peanuts?
It's so easy to make your own raw sauerkraut without all the chemicals. Here is one of my favourite recipes. Enjoy !
2 small heads purple or green/white cabbage, cored and cut/shredded thinly
1 large apple sliced or shredded finely
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon juniper berries
2 tablespoons unrefined celtic or himalayan sea salt
- Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Use your hands to knead, squeeze and mix the cabbage by rubbing it into the salt so it becomes limp and releases its juice.
- Place the cabbage mixture into layers into a mason jar and press it down so it is packed tightly into the jar. Continue this process until the cabbage is sitting below the brine. Place a cabbage leaf on top of the brine. You can use a weight to prevent the cabbage floating above the brine. Cover it up and allow to ferment at room temperature for at least two weeks. You can leave it to ferment longer if you want a stronger flavour (it will taste more sour the longer you leave it). You can add herbs and spices of your choice.
- Add your starter culture (optional). Body Ecology starter by Donna Gates contains L. Plantarum:
- Once fermented, store it in the fridge and use within 1 year. Ensure the jar is properly sealed to prevent air getting in. One way is to take out what you need for the week into a smaller jar and take from the smaller container.
- ENJOY putting great probiotics into your body. Serve with alongside your meals
- Top Tip: you can use a variety of organic veggies such as savoy cabbage, zucchini (courgettes), carrots or parsnips which are great if you are following a LOW FODMAP diet. Different veggies carry different nutritional values and a mix of friendly bacterias on their skin so using a combination of veggies can be very beneficial.
- FUN FACTS: Captian Cook used fermented sauerkraut to keep his sailors healthy as fermented cabbage yields a lot more vitamin C than non fermented cabbage !Raw cabbage on its own already contains around 30 mg per cup of Vitamin C. However when you ferment cabbage into sauerkraut, its vitamin C and antioxidant levels skyrocket.According to researchers at Cornell University, levels of antioxidants and vitamin C in sauerkraut range from 57 to 695 mg—with raw, fermented red cabbage having the highest levels of vitamin C, hitting almost 700 mg per cup. Sauerkraut also contains other antioxidants that protect against stress and fight disease. The beneficial probiotics in sauerkraut inoculate the gut and further fortify the immune system. Sauerkraut and other raw, fermented foods made with cabbage, like Kimchi, are true superfoods that have a long history of protecting the body when resources were scarce.
- Ref: Chun, O. K., Smith, N., Sakagawa, A., & Lee, C. Y. (2004). Antioxidant properties of raw and processed cabbages. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 55(3), 191-199.
PS. You do not need HUGE amounts of fermented foods daily. Just 1-2 tablespoons of sauerkraut is enough.
PPS. Make sure you use low pesticide or chemical residue vegetables (ideally organic veggies) because the good bacterias on the skin veggies are destroyed with chemicals. Check out my dirty dozen clean 15 food lists below