Monday, July 22, 2013

Sauerkraut

This is something I am going to have another go at, not making it, that's the easy part.. it's how my body copes with digesting it that's the test! I have a very sensitive digestive system and the last time I made sauerkraut, which was while ago my digestion reacted badly to it. Weird, because previously I was fine!! 
Me and my digestion are an ongoing battle.. one week I'm fine, I don't change anything I eat, then the next week I'm a mess. It's extremely frustrating to say the least. I do suffer from anxiety which I am working on and that can impact the gut as well.. work in progress. I am also Hypothyroid! another thing that effects digestion and my naturapath has recently informed me that my brain is not talking to my gut when I eat and releasing digestive enzymes to help digest my food, even taking digestive enzymes may not be helping so I am taking a couple of things she has prescribed me to fix it.. I'll let you know how I go with a more thorough explanation of it all.. if anyone else has these issues and you can shed some light on it .. please contact me....

Let me get to the reason we are here.. 

Sauerkraut

The combined health benefits of cruciferous vegetables with the probiotics and enhanced nutrition from fermentation make this a little superfood!! It’s easy to make, the only thing is it needs time to ferment so you need to be organized.

Cabbage is high in vitamins A & C, rich in phytonutrients and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have indicated that it may also help combat cancer.

When you turn it into sauerkraut the fermentation process produces probiotics which are living cultures that are essential for breaking down food and assimilating nutrients. This beneficial bacteria assists digestion and creates new nutrients such as B vitamins and antioxidants.

Studies have also shown that fermented foods help control cholesterol and carbohydrate metabolism in addition to increased weight loss. Another study published in a well known medical journal found that longer fermentation periods resulted in higher levels of antioxidants. I myself have found that the longer I leave it to ferment the better if gets, not only as a health food but also in taste.

It’s super easy to make and it should be consumer raw so as not to damage the delicate healthy bacteria, antioxidants and enhanced nutrients. When first starting to consume raw sauerkraut it is best to start with very small amounts as it can cause digestive discomfort. Start with small amounts of the liquid, like a couple of tablespoons then progress to 1-2 tablespoons of the vegetables with meals. I’m no expert but maybe the more discomfort you get the more you need beneficial bacteria. Some people find it takes a little while to get used to but once they are it is a godsend.  
Here is the simple recipe I used:

Red and white cabbage sauerkraut

Ingredients:

Cabbages – I only use organic for this one.
1 Purple
1 Wombok
1 Sugarloaf
2 tablespoons Salt – Himalayan pink, Celtic or Kalahari
Optional – celery seeds, fennel seeds.
Large jar/s that can be securely sealed but will release air it needs to.

Preparation:

  1. Wash and sterilise all of the utensils you will be using to make the sauerkraut. I use a v-slicer (mandolin) to chop slice the cabbage so it get a wash as well. Remember to clean the bowl, the jar and the cabbages should also be rinsed clean.
  2. Take off and keep the large outer leaves of the cabbages to be used at the end.
  3. Slice all of the cabbage into a large mixing bowl then add the salt, about a ½ to 1 teaspoon each of the celery seeds and fennel if using then massage until the cabbage softens and the juices release. This takes about 3-6 minutes
  4. Place handfuls of the mixture into the clean jar; I put 2 handfuls in then press it down, then another 2 handfuls and press again. You don’t want any air in the jar as it can harbor bad bacteria that can spoil the whole batch. Keep going until you have filled the jar to about 4 cm then pour the juice into the jar so that it covers the cabbage. I always find that there’s enough there anyway but just in case make sure it is covered.
  5. Fold the whole cabbage leaves you saved and press them onto the top of the mixture in the jar, this keeps it in the liquid. Then secure the lid and place on a plate or container as it can leak for the first couple of days as the fermentation process begins. You will get air bubbles raising to the top and expanding so make sure that it can get out or you could have an explosion.. Not a nice thing to have happen in you nice clean kitchen. (PS I have a friend who when he removed the lid it exploded everywhere, he ended up having to clean from ceiling to floor)
  6. After it has stopped leaking, if it does! Store away from direct light. I put mine into my pantry. It will be ready in about a month and can be left for up to 6 months. After that it will need to be refrigerated and will last up to 12 months…. Yep!! You’ve gotta be organized for this one.

NOTES:
  1. I only had half of the red cabbage and my sugarloaf was small so mine fitted into a 1litre jar. If you do the whole cabbages you will need another one.
  2. If you don’t have a mandolin (then you should have, they are amazing! ;-) ) then you can slice it finely with a sharp knife or use the slicer attachment on a food processor.
  3. You can test the kraut after about a week, depending on the weather and time of year it can be ready earlier.
  4. You can also place it straight into small re-sealable jars. Place a layer of baking paper or cling film between the jar and lid as the salts will rust the lid if using metal ones. This is convenient as you can use one at a time without the danger of contaminating the whole batch.

The massaged cabbage just before I pressed it into the jar.
Only 4 weeks to wait until I can eat it.. then see how I go!! 




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Disclaimer:

I am not a doctor, registered dietitian or fitness expert. The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with food, fitness and life and hopefully to inspire you. All content provided on my blog is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Karen

Karenluvslife

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