Why so keen? Well, it’s primarily because I am always looking to increase the nutritional value of what we eat at home, particularly with our 3 kids. I add ingredients like sprouts and miso and seaweeds to many of our meals, just to jack up the nutrients. And you may be shocked to hear that fresh foods aren’t necessarily the healthiest foods. Fermenting foods not only makes nutrients more available, but also increases the vitamin content.
Fermentation does the following:
- breaks down food to aid digestion and assimilation
- provides enzymes to aid digestion
- supplies and nourishes correct intestinal bacteria
- helps heal leaky gut and IBS
- boosts immunity
- removes cyanide
All functions in the body require enzymes and the enzymes in many foods are damaged or destroyed by the time we eat them. The more enzymes we have, the more easily we digest food, cleanse, heal and build.
It’s great to include fermented foods in your diet on a regular basis, and we’ve got loads of them at Planet Organic – like sourdough breads, yogurt, kefir (you can make your own at home with our Nourish starter cultures http://www.planetorganic.com/fresh-nourish-kefir-starter-cultures.html), kombucha, sweet Amazake, pickles, tempeh, miso, mirin, tamari, shoyu and vinegar.
One of the easiest fermented foods to make at home is sauerkraut. Fermenting cabbage enhances all of its beneficial qualities – vitamin C content, ability to detox the liver, antioxidants and antibiotic and antiviral properties. It tastes so much better than store-bought kraut – and you can ferment it until the taste suits you. Then add it to sandwiches, mix with noodles or pasta or enjoy with pork and other meats.
SERVES: 2 adults and 2 children
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
FERMENTING TIME: 4 – 14 days
STORAGE: Refrigerate for up to 2 months.
- 1 medium white or green cabbage (about 1500g/53oz)
- 1½ tbsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 4 medium jars
- 1. Peel 4 good leaves and set aside. Cut cabbage into 8 wedges, remove the core, and thinly slice crosswise.
- 2. Put the cabbage in a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Mix and massage the salt into the cabbage for 5 minutes until it softens and releases water. Then pound with the end of a wooden rolling pin or a potato masher for another 5 minutes. Add caraway seeds, if using, and mix well.
- 3. Pack the cabbage into the jars, leaving some room at the top and pour in any liquid. Cut the reserved leaf into circles the width of the jars and put over the surface to keep the cabbage submerged. Do not put the lid on because of the pressure from the fermentation.
- 4. Press the cabbage down every day. If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the level of the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon fine sea salt in 8fl oz of water and add enough to cover.
- 5. The sauerkraut will be ready to eat after about a week, but will continue to ferment and develop for up to 2 weeks. If mold develops, skim it off and ensure the cabbage is submerged. Keep tasting it and when you like the taste, put the lid on and refrigerate.