Please Pass that Sauerkraut!
Sauerkraut. One of my go-to fermented foods that I now make and enjoy, FROM SCRATCH!
Fermented foods are an absolute necessity in our daily diets, as our gut bacteria/flora (our "Microbiome") are negatively affected by such actions as implementation of antibiotics during times of infection/illness and as the result of consuming highly-processed/refined foods. Such actions inevitably kill off "good" bacteria, leaving our gut and immune system in a state of dysfunction, and often discomfort over time.
Our gut is home to trillions of such "good bacteria", of numerous different strains/species. They line our digestive tract and are an inextricable component of our immune system. Fermented foods feed your gut the live bacteria strains it so greatly needs, to replenish levels of good bacteria and keep your Microbiome in the most optimal state possible.
An incredible read on this topic is "Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life" (By: David Perlmutter & Kristin Loberg). This literature reinforces the gut-brain connection, explaining the gut flora's impact on the nervous system and how it develops right from birth. A very worthwhile and fascinating read!
Sauerkraut requires just a handful of ingredients; this recipe includes red cabbage, carrots, fresh ginger, sea salt (I used pink, Himalayan sea salt) and caraway seeds. It also requires a reasonable amount of prep time. Given those factors and its deliciously healthy taste, today I share with you the straight-forward process of making your very own, including my source of inspiration (the recipe and nutritionist!), which you can view and read about here!
Firstly, as shown in the recipe link above, you're going to prep your ingredients and combine them into a large mixing bowl, as such:
Then, you're going to mix and massage the mixture very thoroughly, for approx. 10 minutes, until the cabbage has softened (the cell walls have broken down) and juice begins to accumulate in the bottom of the bowl, as such:
Lastly, spoon the mixture into mason jars with a slotted spoon, so that the juice remains in the bowl for use at the end. This recipe volume filled two mason jars.
You do not want the mason jars to be full, so fill them about 3/4 full and then pack the mixture down within the jars using the spoon or another tool. The juice that inevitably snuck into the jar with the spoonfuls will rise within the jar. Pour the remaining juice in the bowl over the jar mixtures so that ideally, the sauerkraut is just covered with juice. You want to have a couple of inches of space remaining at the top of the jar for when fermentation begins to occur, as such:
Place a piece of parchment paper overtop of the jar prior to sealing the jar tight. Now, let the mason jars sit on the counter for minimum 3 days, to allow the fermentation magic to happen!
Once it is opened for the first time, it then gets stored in the refrigerator from then on it. Ideally, the spoon you dip into the jar with has not come in contact with any other foods/substances.
In my diet, I typically have a heaping spoonful or two with lunch and/or dinner, as a compliment to my meal. This is an adequate-sized serving for daily consumption.
What is your favourite variation of a homemade sauerkraut recipe? I'd love to know!