We all know by now that looking after your gut means looking after your overall health don't we? A
nything you can add into your day that says 'I'm looking after my gut' improves your immunity, mood, digestion and overall balance in your body.
One of the most important areas to look at when it comes to gut health is that balance of bacteria in our tums. We need 80% good bacteria and 20% bad bacteria to keep an optimal environment in our guts, but unfortunately many of us often have that percentage in reverse due to stress, refined foods, sugar, alcohol, medication etc.
So anything we can do to ship more of the good guys in is a great idea.
Something that is so easy to make and have on hand in the fridge is sauerkraut or any other fermented vegetable. Then, with any meal you can think of, plop a tablespoon or two on your plate. I have fermented veg with my bacon and eggs, stirred through my salad, on top of my steamed veg with salt and butter, you name it.
It's particularly good with any meat as it will help you digest it! The fermentation process (that you can be the creator of!) of the veggies creates millions of good guys (probiotics) and that's what you are loading up your tum up with when you eat the stuff! Yay.
Let's get to it!
**If you need more convincing on why you should follow the steps below (ie. pound the crap out of some cabbage) please read my Gut health blog series HERE and specifically why probiotics are literally one of the best things you can add to your body HERE.
Triple C Sauerkraut
There are many ways you can pickle or ferment your veggies and sauerkraut is traditionally just fermented cabbage, but I call mine Triple C as it's cabbage, carrot and caraway! It's very yummy and super easy. 🙂
Because it's Winter in Australia right now as I write this blog, this recipe contains whey as our starter culture. You can also use just salt which I mostly do in the warmer months and to learn about whey vs salt fermenting, this blog by Sarah Wilson explains things nicely.
So because it's cold right now, I am using whey to ferment as it speeds the process up a bit. You can still use salt but it may take a little longer.
So you will need:
A nice big strong bowl, a sieve and muslin cloth or a nut milk bag, another bowl that the sieve or nut milk bag can sit on top of, a meat hammer/pounder or a pestle from a mortar and pestle (which is what I use) and a nice big mason jar (make sure it's clean but don't worry about sterilizing it, we are working WITH bacteria so it's totally not necessary to kill any bugs and will probably help our process anyway!)
1 kg of full fat plain yoghurt
1 small sugarloaf or drum cabbage, cored and finely shredded
2 medium carrots, grated
1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
1 tablespoon of himalayan salt
1/2 cup of whey (use 1 tablespoon of extra salt if you don't want to use the whey)
Method to make whey
Pour yoghurt into a sieve lined with muslin cloth or into nut milk bag and suspend over large bowl. Drain 12-24 hours. What you end up with is curds and whey! Remember little miss muffet who sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey? Well she was just eating yoghurt! 😉
The solid part left in your muslin cloth or nut milk bag is a very scrummy cream cheese or labne. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a month and you can use it as a spread just as is or add some freshly cut dill or parsley, crushed garlic, salt and pepper and bliss out while snacking on your own homemade savoury cream cheese spread on some seedy crackers. The choice is yours. 🙂
You will also have the liquid in the bowl which is your whey or starter culture. Put 1/2 cup aside for this recipe and the rest you can store in a jar in your fridge for 3 months.
Ferment some more vegetables! And you can add a tablespoon to your homemade mayo which makes your mayo safe to store a LOT longer (like a few months instead of a few days! - cool huh?).
Method to make Sauerkraut
Mix all ingredients (cabbage, carrots, caraway seeds, whey and salt) in your large bowl and pound with meat hammer or pestle or just squeeze tightly with your hands for at least 10 minutes. Really get in there and go to town. What we are doing here is releasing the juices of the veggies.
Then simply pour mixture into your mason jar and push down on your ingredients with your pounder. Do this until all the liquid has risen to the top and you have a good layer (at last an inch) of liquid sitting over your mixture. This is to ensure that your veggies don't grow mould. Seal your jar tightly and keep on your bench at room temp for 3 -4 days. Then it can be transferred to the fridge and stored for at least 5-6 months!
If you haven't been eating much cultured or fermented foods in the past, start with 1 teaspoon a day and build up to 1-2 dessertspoons a day and your tummy will absolutely love you.
It's definitely safe for kids if you can get them to eat it! Mine are still not into it at 3 and 4 years of age but I will try every few months until I can add it to their meals as well. Just a teaspoon for little ones will do.
If you see your ferment bubble and fizz, this is great! This is what we want. If you see little spots of foam form on top, totally ok and can be lifted off with a spoon once it's ready to be opened.
Don't open your jar during the ferment process, only once it's ready to go in the fridge because you will spoil it by letting oxygen in.
Told you it was easy. Now get fermenting!
Yours in Health,