Love them or hate them, fermented foods have increased in mainstream popularity in the past decade and they are here to stay. Favourites include kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi and they are purported to have far reaching benefits.
Expensive to buy but easy to make, sauerkraut, which means means ‘sour cabbage’ or ‘sour herb’, is a kitchen staple that is full of powerful probiotics that support the body in a number of ways. Lactic acid fermentation works with the airborne lactobacilli that culture on cabbage leaves as they grow. The fermentation process occurs in three stages that create an acidic environment that ferments the sugars in the cabbage and encourages the growth of health enhancing bacteria.
Some of the benefits of sauerkraut include:
- Live and active probiotics that defend against harmful bacteria in the gut.
- Fibre that aids and supports digestion.
- A source of vitamins A, B, C, K and minerals phosphorous, iron, manganese and calcium.
- Probiotics that reduce inflammation and increase immunity.
- Encourages production of digestive enzymes linked with cognitive function and stress reduction.
You can use whichever cabbage you prefer to make sauerkraut. We used savoy cabbage which is a particularly good source of sinigrin, a glucosinolate found in cabbage that is converted into an anti-cancer compound by the body.
- 2 leaves + 700g Cabbage
- 2 ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
Clean your equipment well by sterilising it with boiling water.
Finely slice the cabbage, leaving the two large leaves. In a large bowl massage the sliced cabbage with the salt until it is reduced in size, has a cooked texture and is starting to release liquid.
Push the massaged cabbage firmly into the preserve jar and cover with any cabbage juice left in the massage bowl.
Cover with the two whole cabbage leaves, leaving no spaces and secure the lid. Leave in a cool, dark place for three days on an old towel in case the juice leaks.
After three days, remove the lid and discard the two whole cabbage leaves at the top of the jar. If the layer of cabbage underneath is not covered in juice and has not fermented, discard this too.
Clean the lid, replace and store the jar in the fridge during use.
Your sauerkraut is now ready to eat. Enjoy a generous tablespoon daily.