How to make homemade sauerkraut
As we are in the midst of a global health crisis many of us are considering what we can do for ourselves and families to stay healthy and support our immune systems. A healthy immune system helps defend us from bacteria and viruses that can make us sick. They are a number of ways we can help support this important network of protection and it all starts with what we eat and how we take care of our gut which houses about 70% to 80% of our immune system. This mini eco system has a lot to do. Digestion, assimilation of nutrients and production of compounds that help boost immune health are all accomplished in the gut . The gut receives most of the nutrients it needs from the foods we eat so it makes sense to eat sensibly.
There are four ways to improve gut health
- Increase colorful fruits and vegetables
When shopping for fruits and veggies, let color be your guide. Colorful varieties such as sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, berries, and citrus contain polyphenols that help inhibit inflammation in the body and boost immune function. They also contain lots of antioxidants that help fight off free radicals that our bodies come in contact with on the daily basis
2. Add spices
My favorites are the warming spices like ginger and turmeric. Also included in this group are garden spices and foods such as leeks, onion, and garlic.
3. Increase fiber
Seeds, nuts, legumes, and other whole grains contain fiber as does fresh fruits and vegetables. These products help promote the proliferation of good bacteria in the gut, fight inflammation, regulate the immune system, and help product the gut wall. While the fiber found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts help increase beneficial bacteria it’s actually the by-products (SCFAs or short-chain fatty acids) that are actually promoting the proliferation of good bacteria. Including plenty of veggies (particularly dark green leafy vegetables), fruit, nuts, and legumes will help promote the SCFAs.
4. Fermented foods (get gutsy: how to make sauerkraut)
Rather than spending $50 or $60 a month on probiotic capsules try including more fermented foods in your diet. Eating fermented foods that are naturally rich in probiotics you are promoting microbial diversity which in turn helps bolster immune health. My favorite sources of fermented foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and kefir. Today I’m sharing how to make sauerkraut. It’s so easy and very inexpensive.
How to make homemade sauerkraut
This is so easy and inexpensive to make. All you need is cabbage, salt, and an airtight jar. I use regular green cabbage rather than napa or purple cabbage but you can use whatever you’d like and even try other veggies!
- Start with 1 medium or 2 small cabbages and cut up into thin ribbons. Reserve a few of the larger leaves for later.
- Place your cut cabbage in a mixing bowl and massage in salt.
- When the cabbage begins to sweat a little and releases ‘water’ or brine put it in to an airtight mason jar.
- Push down the shredded cabbage and top with (reserved) cabbage leaves.
- Add a fermentation weight or small rocks in a zip lock bag to the top.
- Make sure all the cabbage is submerged in brine. If you need to add water, do so. You don’t want any cabbage exposed to air as you might create mold.
- As the fermentation process starts, the brine might bubble out of the jar so make sure you put your jar in a container.
- Set the lid on lightly so air can get in to the jar to allow the fermentation to take place.
- Leave your cabbage on the counter for at least 2 weeks and then try it to see how it tastes.
- The longer it ferments the better.
- Keep in refrigerator after your finish fermenting. Enjoy daily for healthy probiotics!
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Fermented cabbage: sauerkraut
This is so simple an a quick and inexpensive way to get your daily probiotics, healthy ~ good bacteria for your gut!
- 1 medium cabbage
- 1 1/2 tbsp sea salt
Wash, dry and then slice the cabbage into narrow ribbons removing the core.
Peel off the outer leaves and put aside for later.
Place cabbage in a bowl and massage in salt until the cabbage begins to wilt and sweat.
After about 5 minutes of working the salt into the cabbage you'll notice a liquid or brine on the bottom of your bowl.
Add the cabbage, along with any brine you have, to the airtight jar.
Cover the shredded cabbage with the cabbage leaves you set aside.
Add enough filtered water so that it covers all of your cabbage.
Add your weight and cover lightly so that oxygen can get in the jar to start the fermentation process.
Place your jar in a bowl or tray. As the cabbage ferments it will bubble over.
Allow to sit on the counter for about 2 weeks.
Remove rocks and tighten lid.