Gut health is a hot topic. If you look after your gut health your digestion improves, you absorb your nutrients better and your overall health improves. There is also a direct relationship with good gut health and good mental health. If your guts not right, everything suffers. An easy way to improve your gut health is by eating fermented foods. Communities that eat a diet high in fermented foods such as cultured yoghurt and saurkrauts live longer, healthier lives. The natural probiotics that form in these foods are the magic ingredient.
We had a surplus of organic green cabbages this week, so this Sunday I brought some home and started shredding. Making your own is easy and really affordable. Here’s the quick recipe I used.
2 large firm, pale green or white organic cabbage (any leathery outer leaves removed), cored
A handful of fine celtic sea salt (we sell it in our bulk section)
1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
Wash a large glass jar in hot soapy water, rinse well under very hot water and leave to air dry.
Shred the cabbage finely and pop in a clean mixing bowl and add the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage with clean hands for 8–10 minutes, or until the cabbage is limp and watery. There should be a pool of liquid left in the bowl. Reserve this to cover the cabbage in the jar. If your cabbage isn’t particularly fresh, you may need to add a splash of cold filtered water to help create a brine.
Toss the cabbage with the caraway seeds (if using). Transfer the cabbage and the reserved liquid to the prepared jar, leaving a large gap at the top, and press down well with a spoon. Make sure the cabbage is under the brine mixture.
Leave the cabbage to ferment in a cool place (not the fridge), out of direct sunlight, for 4–7 days. The sourness comes from the lactic acid produced during the fermentation process. If the sauerkraut is fermented at too high a temperature it can inhibit the process. Loosen, then tighten, the lid briefly each day to allow any gas to escape that has collected as the result of the fermentation process.
Taste the sauerkraut after 4 days and, if the flavour is as you like it, you can slow the fermentation dramatically by chilling. Alternatively, leave longer to develop the flavour more fully. The sauerkraut should be tangy with a slightly salty cabbage flavour and will become crunchier.
If the sauerkraut doesn’t taste at all acidic, has a funky smell, taste or is discoloured, dump that batch. Once the sauerkraut is ready, it can be labelled and stored in the fridge. We usually start eating ours when it is around 10 days old. If kept sealed, it should last for a few months and will develop a stronger, more tangy flavour. If you are dipping into your jar regularly, you may accidentally introduce other bacteria to the jar, so it’s best consumed within a week or two.
Keep an eye on your cabbage and make sure the gases produced as a by-product of the fermentation process are allowed to escape. Open the jar and push down with a clean spoon. If your sauerkraut continues to ferment, you will need to loosen the lid occasionally, probably every 2-3 days and ‘burp’ the gas away. Eventually, no more gas will be produced.
Enjoy the probiotic hit of your homemade kraut. Pop in and see our wide range of organic fruit and veggies or organise an organic home delivery today.