Explain that it’s fermented cabbage and you’ll get more than a few upturned noses.
If you’ve been following the latest news about better gut health, however, you’ll know that homemade sauerkraut has quite a few benefits:
- It contains plenty of nutritious elements including vitamins C, K, and B6. There’s manganese, folate and potassium too.
- Fans of gut biomes say that it promotes better digestion because it contains natural probiotics.
- It can, according to some research, improve your immune system by helping to maintain those healthy gut flora.
- Its probiotic benefits could help you lose weight as part of a calorie controlled diet.
- It could even help with improving brain performance and overall health by boosting your gut.
There are certainly some wild claims going around at the moment concerning probiotics and other gut friendly products. Most of these need a lot more research and you should certainly take claims that they can reduce heart disease and even ‘cure’ cancer with a pinch of salt.
Better gut health, however, is important and your homemade sauerkraut will almost definitely contribute to that. Like the proverbial apple, a little a day could well keep the doctor away.
How to Make Sauerkraut
You can buy sauerkraut in the shops but, as with most processed products, these are not as good as homemade options. The great news is that sauerkraut is really simple to make.
Here’s what you’ll need for our favourite recipe:
- Red cabbage, finely shredded or grated.
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
- 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds.
- 1 teaspoon of pepper corns.
- A large mason jar with a sealable lid.
The method of making sauerkraut requires a little elbow grease but doesn’t take long.
Finely chop the red cabbage or grate it into a large bowl. Add the salt, caraway seeds and pepper corns. Start rubbing the salt into the cabbage, slowly but firmly. Do this for about five minutes.
You’ll find that liquid starts to seep out of the cabbage. Leave for a few minutes and then repeat the process. Basically what you end up with is a reduced amount of cabbage sitting in its own brine solution.
Next transfer this to your mason jar and tamp the cabbage down with a spoon so that the liquid covers it. Seal the jar and put in a darkish place at room temperature. This is where the cabbage begins to ferment (you’ll see it start to bubble) and the whole process should take about 5 days. For maximum flavour, however, you will want to leave the jar for 3 or 4 weeks.
Added to salads and other cold meals, fresh, homemade sauerkraut is actually pretty tasty and your jar should last at least a couple of months. It’s a simple way to add a natural probiotic to your daily food preparation.