Here's an idea if you have 10 minutes and a couple of cabbages! It so easy that complete beginners (like me) can massage up a batch of the (under-publicised) superfood that is Sauerkraut.
In pursuit of Friday morning procrastination I have made this, written about it and I'll teach you how to make it too. That's shoddy procrastinating, although no doubt someone in the office will disagree with me!
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Superpowered by plants[/caption]
If you have never had it. Sauerkraut is raw fermented cabbage, wait... hold that thought right there!
Actually, it tastes delicious with its coleslaw like texture and delightfully sour flavours. Its perfect on its own, in sandwiches or as a side with a meal.
Here comes the science... Sauerkraut gets its superpowers from the way it is made. Microbial fermentation. This ancient technique and preservation method naturally alters the chemistry of foods when the bacteria or yeast organisms are deprived of oxygen. This process makes the Sauerkraut rich in beneficial bacteria or another word is probiotic. This lactic acid fermentation is a natural preservative that inhibits harmful bacteria.
Sauerkraut contains high levels of dietary fibre, as well as significant levels of vitamins A, C, K, and various B. It is a fantastic source of minerals and elements such as iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium and calcium. And like most plants it has a good amount of protein.
Well know for reducing inflammation, the compounds and phytonutrient antioxidants found in this food can aid the pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and other inflammed areas.
Because of the high levels of dietary fibre Sauerkraut helps to move food through the bowels, eliminating constipation, bloating, cramping, and excessive gas along the way. Sauerkraut is teeming with beneficial lactobacillus bacteria – more than is in live yoghurt – which increase the healthy flora in the intestinal tract. This helps the immune system fight infection, and aids digestion, hence sauerkraut's venerable reputation as a remedy for upset stomach and constipation. By regulating your digestive and excretory system, you can also prevent more serious conditions, like gastric ulcers and even colon cancer.
How to make it:
First wash your hands really well, we are going to be doing some microchemistry here and don't want to add bad bacteria to all the good bacteria.
- Get your hands on an organic cabbage or two. It doesn't have to be organic, but there are more good bacteria on the organic ones.
- Cut the cabbage up finely into small ribbons
- Place in a bowl, throw in some sea salt
- With your clean hands, massage the cabbage and salt together. The cabbage will become limp and brine water will appear. Keep massaging and squeezing the water out.
- Put the cabbage into a large jar and press down.
- Put any left over brine in the jar, make sure the top is well covered. You can add a cabbage leaf on the top and press down firmly to keep your cabbage under the brine level.
- Keep the lid loosely on but don't completely seal, otherwise the fermenting gases will build up to an potentially explosive situation.
- Put away somewhere dark and cool for at least three days minimum but seven day to two weeks is better.
While you are waiting for the process to be complete, don't worry if you see bubbling or froth on the top. This is a normal part of the fermentation.
After three days or more, serve up and enjoy!
Do let me know how yours turned out and what it tasted like. Send us your Sauerkraut pictures on instagram
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