WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU CABBAGE, MAKE SAUERKRAUT

rooted sauerkraut.JPG

Gut health is increasingly important in our ferociously busy world.  Stress, hormone imbalance, digestion and immunity (to name a few) is all supported by having a healthy gut. In fact, we are pretty much made of bacteria. That's right, you're a walking, talking mix of bacteria. Bacteria in the gut can influence our behaviour via the hundred million neurons in the gut, which is why the gut is named ' the second brain'.

Sauerkraut is made by a process called lacto-fermentation. There is beneficial bacteria present on the surface of the cabbage - such as  Lactobacillus is one of those bacteria, which is also found in yogurt and other cultured products. When the cabbage is massaged and the salt breaks it down a little, bacterias begin to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid. This is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and increases the growth of the good. Sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fibre and contains vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.

It's ridiculously easy to use and much cheaper than buying the shop bought variety. I love making a big batch as it lasts a good month or so. I love using fennel or caraway, or spicing things up with turmeric and mustard seeds. 

Here's how:

- 1 cabbage

- sea salt - 1-3 tablespoons

1. First, shred your cabbage very finely. I use a Magimix to do this but you can use a slicer too.

2. Add the cabbage to a bowl and add the salt. Start to massage the cabbage with your hands. You'll see water being released. I usually do this for 10 minutes or until there is enough brine to cover the cabbage. 

3. Add your flavour. I use 2 tablespoons of either fennel seeds or caraway seeds. If I'm using turmeric, I'll add 1 tablespoon, a teaspoon of black mustard seeds and a pinch of black pepper.

4. Place the cabbage in a kilner jar and make sure the brine is covering it. Use some weights (I use pie weights) and then cover with a muslin cloth. Wrap an elastic band around it to secure in place.

5. Leave for 10-14 days in a area of the kitchen that is around 15-17 celsius and taste from around 5 days to check whether it is the desired taste. It should taste zingy but not too tart.

Once the flavour is how you'd like it, take out the weights and close the lid. It will last in the fridge for up to a month. The fermentation process will continue but much slower once in the fridge.

Eat with anything, and everything!