Fermented foods and gut health.
I am absolutely in love with fermented foods and homemade sauerkraut is the basic food I almost always have in my fridge.
Anyone who knows me will tell you how hard it is to shut me up about the gut flora and importance of fermented foods.
I truly belief that fermented foods are crucial for our overall well-being and with around 70% of our immune system being in our Gut, we really do need to look after it.
Spoonful of sauerkraut before each meal will aid your digestion and increase your gut health. The beauty of homemade sauerkraut is also that you can experiment with the flavours, with the intensity, you can make huge batch and keep it in the fridge for weeks, eating your way through it.
You can find sauerkraut in supermarkets (at least in UK you do) but the issues with those is that they are pasteurised!
What you really need is a raw sauerkraut which you can find in some health foods stored but it can be price to buy.
When making your own all your need is cabbage, a bit of salt and some patience. Seasoning is a optional if you would like to get creative, cumin, dill and juniper berries are great to start with.
The possibilities are endless.
Interested in other living food recipes? Check out my kefir recipe!
I consider sauerkraut to be one of the easiest living foods to make at home and also more economical to make it yourself.
Sauerkraut like a kefir or kimchi is a live food. Especially during those first few days you get to see it, the cabbage bubbles up, the gas from bacteria is released and in creates air pockets in the cabbage, you may hear slight whistle like sounds coming out of the jar.
It is all normal and part of the process, the good bacteria in cabbage is eating up the sugars and creating by product, the gas which bubbles up.
The basic simple recipe for sauerkraut.
- Total Time30 min
- Serving Size50g
- Energy16 cal
- 2 sweetheart cabbage
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tsp of salt
- 5 juniper berries
- Peel of any old leaves from your cabbage.
- Save 3 or 4 healthy looking outer leaves from your cabbage, set aside.
- Shred rest of the cabbage in food processor or on mandolin.
- Mix all the cabbage with 1 tsp of salt and massage the salt in properly. Do NOT try to be gentle. Use your muscles, keep squeezing and massaging the cabbage for about 5 min then pat it down in the bowl.
Optional: add the cumin and 5 juniper berries and mix throug the cabbage.
- Leave the salted cabbage for about 20-30min.
- Take a jar and move some of the cabbage into the jar, then with rolling pin or a tamper, keep pounding the cabbage down in the jar to remove all the air from the cabbage (be careful not to break the jar).
By now you should have the cabbage releasing good ammount of it own juices.
- Repeat the above step until you used all the cabbage, if any juice in the bowl is left pout it over your cabbage in the jar.
- If your cabbage in not all submerged in it’s juices, mix 1 cup of filtered water with 1 tsp of salt, make sure the salt dissolved properly.
- Pour the water on the top of the cabbage and press all down to make sure all air is removed.
- Take one or two of the saved cabbage leaves, roll them up and press on the top of the cabbage to push it down under the liquid.
- Place pickling pebble or sterilised stone on th etop of the rolled cabbage leaves to weight it down.
- Make sure you have some space at the top of the jar, about 2-4cm / 1-2 inches.
- If using fermentig jar or mason jar with pickle pipe, screw the top on nad leave on the side to ferment! 🙂
- If using regular jar, make sure that all the cabbage is submerged and weighted down, place the jar inside a tray or small bowl.
- Keep in room temperature, out of direct sun.
First 2-4 days:
- Your cabbage will be fermenting and keep bubbling up, the water level will rise the cabbage up, thus it is important to have space left at the top of the jar.
- You can open the jar carefully and press the cabbage down daily for the first few day to release all the gas and bubbles and ensure all the cabbage is submerged in the juices.
Week two and three:
- Check on your cabbage for the level of sourness and fermentation you like, taste it, if it is not strong enough after two weeks, cover it up again (with the cabbage leaves and stones) and leave to ferment some more.
If it taste good for you place it in the fridge to stop (or slow down significantly) the fermentation process.
- Tamper/Rolling pin
- Clean sterilised stones or pickling pebbles
- Fermentation jar (1l or 1.5l)
- Large jar (1.5l) + bowl to fit it in
- Mason jar (1l or 1.5l) + pickling pipe
- If you live in the UK I recommend to get Fermentation jar in Lakeland, like the one in the photos. They sell them in two different sizes starting from £7 per jar.
- Main plus of using those is ease, you have the least set up and the least work with those.
- Serving Size50g
- Amount per serving
- % Daily Value*
- Total Fat0.3 g0.38%
- Saturated Fat0.1 g0.5%
- Total Carbohydrate2 g0.73%
- Total Sugars2 g
- Protein1.2 g2.4%