Fermentation is a type of cooking. Fermentation predates human history as it does not involve fire. Sauerkraut literally translated from the German is "sour cabbage. It is cabbage that has been fermented by lactic bacteria. Cabbage and other Brassociceae family vegetables (broccoli, cauliflfower, kale bok choi, collards and many others) have long been considered rich in anticarcinogenic nutrients. According to my fermentation guru, Sandor Katz, a recent scientific study finds athat fermentation breaks down glucosinolates in cabbage into compounds called isothiocyanates which are already known to fight cancer. Scientists are now finding (what took them so long?) that fermented cabbage could be healthier than raw or cooked cabbage, especially for fighting cancer.
About two weeks ago, I decided to make another batch of sauerkraut. I now like my own much more than store bought. Of the store bought variety, Karthein's is my favourite. I have been reading Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz (or is it Kraut?)and, I must say he is an inspiration. I found two videos of Sandor on youtube and have included them here for your own inspiration. In the first video, Sandor takes about bacteria and why it's important in our daily diet. The other shows how to ferment vegetables (make sauerkraut).
WHY FERMENTED FOOD IS GOOD FOR YOU
In order to maintain intestinal health it is important to eat one tablespoon of homemade, naturally fermented pickles daily. Cucumbers pickled in a salt brine, kimchi (see my November 2010 post for the recipe) and sauerkraut are examples of homemade pickles. From yin to yang: kimchi is fermented for about four days, dill pickles are fermented for about two weeks, sauerkraut is fermented anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months or more. There are many other quick pickles that are fermented for as little as a couple of hours. And then there is also pressed salad. Pickles taken on a daily basis in small quantities strengthen the intestines and immune system without fancy, schmancy, expensive store-bought probiotics! Healthy intestines create a friendly campground for clear thinking and a happy outlook.
RED AND GREEN CABBAGE SAUERKRAUT WITH CARAWAY SEEDS
5 pounds of red and green cabbage
3 Tablespoons sea salt
Thinly slice or shred the cabbages. Mix the ingredients together with clean hands and pack into a ceramic crock. Press the cabbage/salt/caraway mixture down firmly in the crock as you go.
|READY FOR FERMENTATION|
Place a plate that fits inside the crock over the shredded cabbage and put a weight on top (my rock has been scrubbed many times over and is only used for pressing salads and pickles). Cover with a clean kitchen towel to protect from dust and other particles. Place the crock in a corner of your kitchen. I find that if I put the crock out of sight in my cold cellar, it also go out of mind. When the pickling takes place in my kitchen, I pay more attention. During the first 24 hours press down on the weight from time to time to encourage water out of the cabbage. If the cabbage is a bit drier and water does not rise to cover the plate after a day, add enough salted water (dissolve 1 tablespoon salt to 1 cup of water) to cover the plate. Then check your kraut every few days to make sure that brine covers the plate, press down from time to time. The volume of cabbage will shrink as more water is expelled.
|TWO WEEKS LATER|
I have been tasting my sauerkraut from time to time and, after two weeks, I decided it was time to decant one jar and refrigerate it. I am leaving the rest out on my counter to continue fermenting. I want to see how long it takes before it starts to lose its tang.
|HAPPY HOARDS OF FRIENDLY BACTERIA|
|THE BEAUJOLAIS OF SAUERKRAUT!|