Every culture has their portion of ‘fermented foods’ with each meal – what’s yours?
Digestion is a key element in obtaining optimal health. You could be eating a beautiful and colorful diet, but if you are not assimilating the nutrients being offered and eliminating what is no longer needed your body may not benefit. One reason a person’s digestion gets out of whack is because there is an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Consuming fermented and cultured foods is important for digestion and providing proper balance to your body.
So what are fermented foods? Fermented foods go through a process called lactofermentation. This is what happens when bacteria feeds off sugars and starches creating lactic acid. Not only does this process preserve the food, but it also enhances the bioavailability of nutrients in the food, creates enzymes, B vitamins and various strains of probiotics.
Traditionally fermented foods have been enjoyed in cultures throughout the world. In Germany there is sauerkraut, in Korea there is kimchi, and in Russia there is beet kvass. With the change of food agriculture and the usage of additives and preservatives, fermented foods have lost their necessity.
Fermented foods are easy to prepare and not only delicious but can add significant positive changes to your health. Here is my favorite and simplest way to make your own raw sauerkraut:
Raw Fermented Sauerkraut
What you need:
1 medium head of cabbage
11/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional for flavor)
2 1 quart wide mouth mason jars
Wooden cutting board
Sharp knife or food processor
Large glass bowl
- The first step is to clean all of the tools with hot water to ensure there is no bad bacteria lurking around.
- Wash the head of cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Set the leaves aside for later use.
- Shred the cabbage with a knife or food processor and transfer to your large bowl.
- Add the salt to the cabbage, and massage with clean hands. The salt will begin to break down the cabbage and moisture will be released.
- Next transfer the cabbage into the mason jar, you want to make sure there are no air gaps between the cabbage. Use your wooden spoon to ensure it is packed tightly.
- Use the outer cabbage leaf and spring water to cover the cabbage. Make sure the water is above the shredded cabbage.
- It usually takes 6-9 days to ferment, depending on the temperature. You can check it after 3 days for taste. Tiny bubbles lets you know it’s alive. Again make sure the water is above the shredded cabbage (this is important in preventing mold).
- Once sauerkraut is fermented and has started to bubble, store in the refrigerator.
For more information on fermentation and healthy digestion. Sign up for the Fermentation 101 workshop on Saturday, November 1st at 1:30PM taught by Holistic Nutritionist Brittany Sandoval.