So why ferment cabbage and turn it into Sauerkraut? Because basically you will be creating a super food beyond compare.
All cruciferous vegetables (cabbage family) are anti-cancer foods. Cabbage is also a rich stimulant for digestive enzymes and will stimulate a healthy balance of stomach acid. And cabbage is rich in sulforaphane which supports the body's production of detoxification enzymes and this has anti-oxidant effects.
Fermentation improves the digestibility of foods like cabbage and in turn this increases the nutritional content of the food by raising its levels of minerals and vitamins, particularly the vitamin B family. And it doubles up as a probiotic which re-populates your gut wall with friendly bacteria which you will benefit from in many ways.
Sauerkraut Basic Recipe
Any cabbage will ferment (preferably organic). I like red and white cabbage combined and any cabbage that grows in my garden eventually ends up in the sauerkraut pot!
1. Shred cabbage in food processor or by hand.
2. Weigh shredded cabbage – for every 500g of cabbage add 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
3. Optional extras – add a light sprinkle of any of the following: garlic, caraway seeds, juniper berry, chilli, carrot, onion.
4. Add a cup of whey or the remaining liquid from your last sauerkraut batch.
5. Push the cabbage mixed well into a sauerkraut crock or large kilner jar or food grade plastic bucket. Push down as firm as you can. You will see that the cabbage juice starts to fill over the cabbage. The idea is that the cabbage ferments below the juice. At this point add a weight to keep it down, either use the traditional stones supplied with the fermenting crock or you can improvise with a food grade plastic bag filled with water and tied with a knot. Place this on top of the cabbage and pop on the lid.
6. Leave in a warm kitchen for 10 days. After that put it in a cool storage space or fridge and you can use it straight away, however it will mature beautifully, its nice to make some up front so you can store them and enjoy well matured sauerkraut.
7. And finally … as with all raw probiotic rich fermented foods - please start slowly and build gradually to enjoy the benefits and avoid any safe but unpleasant initial side effects.
Colette McMahon, Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist ©