I’m on a good gut bacteria and bugs mission this week, advocating the importance of them and showing you how to help them flourish with the right nutrition.
I’ve recently noticed more discussion, interesting studies and far more advocating of fermented foods amongst my peers of late and this is because it’s so easy to make and the health benefits can be enormous. Experts are really highlighting and supporting the introduction of beneficial bacteria and right PH in the bowel because of the impact we know it can have on our health.
Did you know we have trillions of these ‘good’ bugs and organisms in our digestives systems and how important it is to keep a good balance? There is so much research about how our microflora links to our health: immune system, auto immunity, how we process sugars and fats, how we gain or retain weight and so much of this is influenced by the balance of bacteria and other organisms in our guts and bowels.
Our ancestors used to eat a lot of fermented foods, it was an ideal way of preserving foods for the winter months when there really was a lack of freshness and we seem to have lost this tradition as fresh foods are so much more readily available.
“Ewww” I hear so many people say when I praise this foodstuff, but it actually tastes great. I love it and genuinely eat it most days; just a teaspoon with every meal is so good for you and is the perfect way to introduce a fermented food slowly into your diet. I do recommend introducing slowly as too much too soon can cause gas and bloating, it’s about getting that healthy balance right.
My simple recipe:
Traditionally you’ll find most people make sauerkraut with white cabbage but I use red, the colour is so vibrant and appealing and I just think food should look this way. My favourite ways of eating include: a half sliced avocado, a splash of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a colourful spoonful of sauerkraut on top. It’s also delicious in salads, used instead of seasoning, and even as an accompaniment for hot dogs.
You can easily buy ready-made but I like to make my own (it really is so simple) here’s my super easy, super yummy, 2 ingredient recipe.
Kit: You’ll need a sterile jar, you can buy specific fermenting jar –available on Amazon or high street cookware store or any sterile jar will do.
Ingredients: 1kg cabbage (red or white) and 25 grams of salt (I like Himalayan pink salt) you can also add juniper berries or caraway seeds for a kick of flavour, but I like mine simple.
STEP 1: cut the thick bit out of the middle and finely chop the cabbage – as fine as possible this is really important, and just a side note to not worry about the salty content, remember this is to make a large quantity so you won’t be eating it all in one go!
STEP 2: Once the cabbage is chopped, you simply mix with the salt until the cabbage goes a little bit wet, which means the salt is doing its job and releasing the natural juices in the cabbage.
STEP 3: Get your jar of choice and start to fill with the cabbage and salt mixture. Make sure you keep pushing down as much as you can to really start that ‘cooking’ process where the cabbage changes from crunchy to soft.
STEP 4: Add in something heavy on top once you have filled the jar, e.g. a small bowl with rice in, the aim is to keep the cabbage under the brine.
STEP 4: Give it a quick check after 24 hours to ensure the cabbage is covered by the brine, if needed you can make up a little salt water and top up.
STEP 5: Leave 7-8 days and you should have a wonderful jar of sauerkraut with that tell=tale fermented ‘smell’
This will keep really well in the fridge for up to a month – a simple and cost effective way to keep your tummy bugs happy and flourishing! Ive published a lot over on my social media about fermented foods of late so follow along and join in the conversation!