Unpasteurised sauerkraut is brimming with friendly (probiotic) bacteria which is scientifically proven to be good for the gut. In his book The Clever Guts Diet, Michael Mosley reveals that eating fermented food has the potential to repopulate the gut with beneficial microbes and make us feel better. Eating fermented foods like sauerkraut helps to increase vitamin absorption and elevate anti hunger and anti inflammatory hormones. Therefore, a healthy gut with optimum levels of good bacteria means we are less likely to be overweight and depressed. Probiotics can inhibit the toxic effects induced by wheat in the wall of the gut which may prevent the damage caused by celiac disease.
Lactobacillus plantarum is a strain of good bacteria found in sauerkraut and other fermented foods. Amongst a host of medicinal benefits, studies show that L. plantarum promotes calcium absorption, muscle growth and reduces soy intolerance.
It is really affordable to make your own probiotic rich sauerkraut. Here is all you need to know;
A few things before you start.
You will need a medium sized Kilner jar (or similar) which has a rubber seal on it.
Organic cabbage is best to limit the amount of pesticides however normal cabbage will do.
If it’s your first time, use green cabbage then you can play about with red cabbage and other veggies once you get in to the swing.
- 1 large (or 2 small) cabbage.
- 1 tsp of Himalayan / good quality finely ground sea salt
1 red pepper, 1 carrot, half a fresh red chilli (deseeded), 1 thumb of fresh ginger, half a teaspoon of caraway seeds.
- Remove the two outer leaves of the cabbage and keep to one side.
- Chop the cabbage in half, remove the triangular shaped root and keep the root to one side.
- Finely shred the rest of the cabbage and place in a large bowl.
- Add the salt.
- Use fingers to firmly rub the salt into the cabbage. Once the cell walls of the cabbage start to break down, water will be released.
- Continue to massage the cabbage and salt until a large pool of brine has been formed. This process should take 15-20 minutes.
- If using extra ingredients, finely slice them all and add to the bowl along with the caraway seeds. Mix well with the cabbage and continue to massage all ingredients.
- Place the cabbage mixture in the jar and firmly pat down. Pour the remainder of the brine over the contents.
- Lay the two saved cabbage leaves on top of the contents. Some of the liquid may leak over the top of the leaves but that’s ok. Place the root on top of the leaves and use it to wedge down the contents whilst closing the lid and locking it into place.
- Leave for 3 days at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Check daily. When bubbles start to form inside the jar, it means the beneficial bacteria are producing lactic acid and turning your shredded cabbage into sauerkraut.
- After 3 days, unlock the lid to release gas and re lock (see video below). Place in the fridge and eat when desired! Leave the jar in fridge for 3-4 weeks for a larger probiotic content.
Sauerkraut is a fantastic condiment with salads, burgers…anything savoury. It can also be eaten on its own. 1 tablespoon per day is recommended.
Check out my home video below which will guide you through the massaging part.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RAW LIVING FOOD? Come along to my Raw Food Workshop in Cheshire next month.