As this is my first ever blog post, I thought I’d share with you my first ever fermenting experience. I’ve always been a little apprehensive about fermenting my own foods, but after this, my first Sauerkraut experience it will definitely be part of my weekly kitchen ritual.
So what are fermented foods and why should we include them in our diet?
Basically, fermented foods are foods that get marinated in their own bacteria. Fermentation can render previously inedible or even dangerous foods edible and somewhat nutritious. The lectins, gluten, and phytates in grains, for example, can be greatly reduced by fermentation by bringing the food to life through liberating and reproducing its own bacteria. Fermented foods are so beneficial to overall health that some of these “functional foods” are now considered to be “probiotics”. They increase your overall nutrition, promote the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria, aid digestion and support immune function. Fermented foods also increase intake of B vitamins (even vitamin B12), omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase, lactic acid and other immune chemicals that fight off harmful bacteria and even cancer cells.
To start your Sauerkraut, or fermented vegetables you will need:
Tamper stick or rolling-pin
Good quality salt
Shred the cabbage and slice the cucumber and celery. Start layering your jar with cabbage about 4 inches then sprinkle with salt and use your tamper stick or rolling-pin to pound down the cabbage this will start the process of compacting. Follow with a layer of cucumber, celery and garlic and sprinkle with salt. Again pound down. Repeat this process until your jar is full.
The reason we add salt is to help draw moisture out of the veg. Over the next 2-3 hours the salt will keep drawing the moisture out, so stop by every so often and pack it down more, forcing more of the moisture out. The liquid formed is called “brine”. I found putting the jar in a bowl was useful as some of the brine seeped out.
After 5 days or so you can start tasting it.
You might find a few pieces of shredded cabbage on top that were exposed to the air and appear mouldy. Don’t panic, just get a spoon, fish them out and bung them in the compost. Anything submerged in the brine is healthy and chocka block full of good gut bugs. Once it’s ready, set it in the fridge. Enjoy a few tablespoons 15-mins before a meal to increase stomach acid production.
So there we go – easy way to make Sauerkraut. Please give it a try and leave me some feedback to let me know how it went. I look forward to my next blog post- I hope you do too!!
Love, Caroline x