Naturally fermented foods have been around for millions of years. Foods were routinely fermented to help with digestion and to preserve them for long term storage. With the advent of refrigeration in the 1800s and up until today, the need to ferment for preservation has pretty much vanished.
Too much food today is unhealthy, fast and processed. Fermented foods are very healthy to eat. They are teaming with many types of beneficial bacteria making it an excellent probiotic.
There are many types of fermented foods available for purchase; the most common ones are yogurt, kefir, beer, pickles, and vegetables such as sauerkraut. I want the benefit of eating fermented food, but I don’t care for yogurt. So I try to eat some sauerkraut every day.
Sauerkraut is thought to have originated someplace in Germany, though records show the Chinese eating it for thousands of years. Sauerkraut literally means sour cabbage. When fermenting, the sugar in cabbage is converted into lactic acid, which gives the cabbage its characteristic sour flavor. I enjoy eating it with a little mustard. It’s a great snack as one cup only has only 27 calories!
Besides having many kinds of healthy bacteria good for the gut, sauerkraut has many other good qualities.
Fiber prevents bloating, cramping, and constipation. It also helps in weight loss because it helps you feel full faster.
Vitamin C is a good antioxidant, prevents colds, and aids in wound healing.
This vitamin helps with blood coagulation and aids with growth and development of bones.
A improves eye health by playing a role in the prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Iron is needed to carry oxygen molecules. It increases energy, increases metabolism, and prevents anemia.
Glucosinolates, a component found in cruciferous vegetables, has been found to have cancer-fighting properties.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut help balance the production of stomach acid thus quieting peptic ulcers.
Sauerkraut contains a wide range of minerals – making it ideal for building strong bones!
For sauerkraut to have these positive effects, it must be raw, unpasteurized, and without vinegar. Canned sauerkraut is not raw. And exposing sauerkraut to heat as in cooking, kills all the beneficial microorganisms.
How to Make Your Own
Making your own sauerkraut is easy. All you need is cabbage, water, salt, and a large covered container.
First, shred the cabbage. Then pack it tightly in an airtight container.
Pour enough water to completely cover the cabbage and salt the water. (Use approximately 3 tablespoons per gallon).
It’s important to keep the cabbage totally submerged. If you are making it in a jar, fill a smaller jar with rocks and place inside large jar to weigh the cabbage down. If you’re using a large container such as a crock, there are other methods to weigh down the cabbage such as using a plate with rocks on top.
Now just sit back and let the fermenting begin. Leave the container out in room temperature. It should start changing in about three days. Just taste every day day, and when it tastes good, place in refrigerator and enjoy!