Sauerkraut: The Super Ferment!
Ever since I was little I had very strange tastes, I loved anything pickled! Pickled herring, pickles, pickled beets, that weird pickled cauliflower and bean concoction and of course sauerkraut. Now you might say, sauerkraut is not pickled and yes you are correct, but it does have a similar taste to it. That is what I love. I love that pungent sour flavor.
When I got into the nutrition behind certain foods I was pleasantly surprised by how wonderful sauerkraut was for you! Of course I am talking about traditionally fermented sauerkraut, not that wanna be stuff you find in can at the market.
The Science Behind Sauerkraut
Fermentation is the process of letting food go bad to stay good, that is the simple way to explain it. What’s behind the health benefits of sauerkraut is lactic acid and tyramines. Its basically good bacteria and amino acids.
What is lactic acid and why is it important:
“Lactic acid bacteria are among the most important groups of microorganisms used in food fermentation. They contribute to the taste and texture of fermented products and inhibit food spoilage bacteria by producing growth-inhibiting substances and large amounts of lactic acid. As agents of fermentation LABare involved in making yogurt, cheese, cultured butter, sour cream, sausage, cucumber pickles, olives and sauerkraut, but some species may spoil beer, wine and processed meats.” Textbook of Bacteriology
“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.” – Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg 89
What does this all actually mean?
Having a strong immune system is very important. How can we support our immune system? One way to do so is by consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut because of the probiotics that naturally occur from the fermenting process. Our gut holds the key to our immune system and by treating it right and making sure the balance of good bacteria outways the bad we can help our bodies stay healthy. Take a look at these great articles that go a little more in depth about the about the benefits of probiotics and fermented veggies.
Simple Sauerkraut Recipe
I used to love Bubbies Sauerkraut, but that addiction can be costly! Sauerkraut is such an easy thing to make, do yourself a favor and try out my recipe. If you love sauerkraut like me you’ll be making this weekly!
1 head cabbage
- Wash outside of cabbage
- Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core
- Cut into 4 sections
- Start slicing cabbage into small thin strips
- Salt to taste and mix (You’ll need enough salt to keep the nasty bacteria away, but not too much as it becomes unpalatable, so I usually salt until it tastes good)
- Let sit for at least 30 minutes for the salt to draw out all the water
- Pack tightly into a glass jar, I use the outside of the leaves to be a barrier at the top
- Let ferment for 3-5 days
- Enjoy and refrigerate!