Sunday, 11 January 2015

Fermentations and Easy Sauerkraut

If you have Liked my Facebook Page  you may have noticed that I love to make fermented foods. These foods, used by traditional cultures all around the world to preserve food and for medicinal purposes, help heal our guts-  and our gut health is foundational to our immune system, our brain health and our whole wellbeing. Many people have found that by eating fermented foods and feeding and repopulating the healthy bacteria into their body, many health issues improve dramatically. If you have ever taken antibiotics and not consciously taken probiotics or yoghurt afterwards, you are likely to be suffering from an unhealthy balance of micro-organisms in your digestive system. If you have candida or thrush, ditto. We need lots and lots of the good bugs! Here is a very simple recipe for making some sauerkraut.

Easy Sauerkraut
  • 1 Head of cabbage (red, green or Napa or a combo)
  • 1 tbs of caraway or fennel seeds (I use the fresh wild fennel seeds that are growing all around Freo at the moment)
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 4 tbs whey (you don’t actually need the whey, but it helps, and the recipe for making whey is below. If you don't use whey, just add a little more salt. )

Chop, grate or cut your favourite type of cabbage into strips. You could also put it in the Thermomix or food processor and break it up that way.
Put all the ingredients into a sturdy, large bowl, and start kneading and squeezing them with your hands. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, mix them well and let them sit for a couple of hours. Either way (and kneading your vegies puts your energy and love into them, so I recommend that if you have time!), the juices will be released from the cabbage.
Put the mixture with all its juices into a wide mouthed jar, pressing down into the jar and making sure the juices come up and cover the cabbage by a cm or so- this stops mould growing. If there is not enough juice to cover the cabbage, add a little water with a pinch of salt in it to cover.
Put the lid on and leave it sitting on the bench for 3 days, before moving it to the fridge. I usually start eating it right away. It will last for many weeks.

To make whey- and cream cheese:
Take a tub of yoghurt.
Pour into a strainer over a bowl, first lining the strainer with a damp cloth- muslin is ideal, but a new Chux cloth or piece of tshirt will do too. Let it drain for a couple of hours.

The liquid in the bowl is whey- use it for your fermented vegies.
The solids in the very healthy and nourishing cream cheese. Use it for dips, spreads or in recipes.

If I have no whey in the fridge, sometimes I will just scoop off the clear liquid that forms on top of a tub of yoghurt, and use that. You can also use water kefir, or some liquid reserved from a previous ferment.

Enjoy your fermenting journey- it can be addictive!

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