21 Apr Sauerkraut: Probiotic Foods That Heal
It costs pennies to make these cultured, healing foods! Today we’ll discuss sauerkraut, a soured cruciferous cabbage condiment that has known anti-cancer and antioxidant properties, is inexpensive and plentiful. Its low calorie, and you can eat it freely with no worries about getting fat!
Raw sauerkraut contains lactobacilli bacteria. Probiotics improve digestive function, lower your risk for antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and may improve lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, according to the University of Florida Extension. These probiotics may also help prevent cancer.
Loathe cooking? Bubbies brand is great because it’s live, made from raw cabbage; not pasteurized, so the raw enzymes and nutrition is intact along with the healing probiotic strains. Request from your local health food stores. Bubbies is kept in the refrigerated section.
- 1 half-gallon jar or 2 quart jars
- Knife, cutting board
- Small jar, root vegetable slice, or fermentation weight
- Desired lid or clean towel
- Potato masher or kraut pounder
- 2 heads organic green cabbage
- 3 Tablespoons sea salt
- Water, if needed
- Cut cabbage in half vertically. Remove core. Cut in half again and shred the cabbage finely as for coleslaw. Place cabbage shreds in large bowl.
- Sprinkle over the salt. Mix it all together with clean hands, massaging the salt into the cabbage as you go. At this point taste the cabbage. If it tastes bland, lacking salt, sprinkle in just a little more. It should taste well-seasoned but not overly salty.
- Pound kraut with potato masher. This begins the process of breaking down cabbage which releases the liquid necessary for the brine (optional). Alternatively, leave the salted cabbage, covered, in bowl for several hours to let salt extract the moisture from the cabbage.
- Pack into jars with clean hands; fistfuls of cabbage carefully into mason jars. After every couple handfuls, compact cabbage into jar with fist. Pour in any brine left. If cabbages were fairly dry or didn’t produce enough of their own brine, additional brine can be added as needed. A ratio of ½ Tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of water should be used.
- Fill up to 1.5-2 inches from top.
- Weigh kraut down so it sits below level of brine. Use a thick slice of root vegetable – turnips or beets work well, a purchased fermentation weight, or a small jar.
- Place weight in jar atop the cabbage and press down until the level of the brine comes well over the kraut and root vegetable/weight. Cap with airtight lid of your choice.
- Ferment; best done at 60-80 degrees and will ferment more rapidly the warmer the weather. During this carbon dioxide is produced; any bubbling you notice is desirable. If you have used an airtight lid you will need to “burp” the jar so that the pent up gases do not cause an explosion in the jar. This is done simply by slowly opening the lid, allowing it to “fizz” out for just a second and quickly sealing it back up.
- Fermentation should be visible after a few days, but doesn’t mean it’s complete. If your ambient fermentation temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees, a fermentation time of 1-2 weeks at room temperature produces a well-flavored kraut.
- Move kraut to cold storage – refrigerator, root cellar, basement – with temps between 40-60F is optimal. Kraut will continue to ferment and may change in appearance. A little bit of browning may occur on top, if the brine does not cover the kraut. This is fine, but can be scraped and discarded if desired. Be sure to cover the remaining kraut with brine either by weighting it down or adding more salt brine solution in a ratio of .5 Tablespoon salt to 1 cup pure water.
TAGS: wellness, digestion, immune system, gut health, enzymes, live foods, live enzymes, sauerkraut, recipes, probiotics