I talk often about how introducing fermented foods into my diet was a real game changer in both the management of my autoimmune symptoms and the healing of my gut.
Due to the damage I inflicted over several decades – from toxins, wheat, antibiotics and over the counter pain killers, my gut was in pretty bad shape. I therefore not only eat around a quarter of a cup of fermented vegetables or other probiotic food (coconut kefir yoghurt or kombucha) a day, I still supplement a good quality probiotic capsule too (lactobacillus strain to be specific).
I’ve experimented with several recipes for sauerkraut and fermented vegetables – using a range of fermenting starters. I’ve used whey (the liquid from yoghurt) and salt, with mixed results. Recently, I’ve started using my probiotic capsules themselves as the starter and achieved a taste and texture that I’m really happy with. The benefit of using capsules as your starter is that it ensures you’re getting ample probiotics with every mouthful and a decent amount of bacteria to help your chosen vegetables ferment. I also use the capsules to make super cheap probiotic coconut yoghurt… but that’s a post for another time.
Here’s my easy as probiotic sauerkraut recipe. I eat this daily with some boiled or poached eggs, in a salad, in a soup or broth or with some protein for dinner. It can take some getting used to to eat fermented foods (if you have pre-existing gut issues start with very small amounts as the good bacteria will start to cause die-off of the bad) – but this recipe leads to really crispy, tangy vegetables that are actually super delicious. Adding your chosen herbs and garlic can boost the flavour and allow for experimentation too.
Whole green cabbage
Cup of filtered water
2 garlic cloves
2 sterilised clean jars (medium sized) with sealable lids
Herbs to taste
Pinch of sea salt
1-2 probiotic capsules
1. Shred ¾ of a whole green cabbage and finely slice two carrots into a large bowl (you can also add julienned beetroot or other vegetables as you like). Sprinkle about 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt in and mix well.
2. Using a heavy implement like a meat tenderiser or a pestle, bruise the vegetables until the cabbage starts to become translucent and starts releasing water.
3. Add a cup of filtered water and a handful of the vegetables into a blender or food processor. Blend until a watery juice.
4. Take 1-2 probiotic capsules, remove casing and sprinkle the powder into the vegetable juice. Gently mix. Do not blend.
5.Pack the vegetables into clean, sterilised, sealable jars, putting a clove of garlic at the bottom of each jar if you like. Every couple of handfuls, place some herbs into the jar for flavour. Pack tightly using something heavy to press down like the pestle you used earlier. Pour in the probiotic juice until the vegetables are just covered.
6. Seal the top with torn cabbage leaves, pushing the leaves down the edges of the jar. Leave the jar open but weigh down the contents using a smaller heavy jar or something heavy, placing it on top of the leaves so the juice comes over the top. Wrap the whole thing (the original jar and the weighting jar) in plastic wrap, so no gas or juice can escape. Leave in a warmish area for 3-4 days.
6. Once the fermentation has started (the cabbage will have become translucent, there will be a faint odour and the contents will have become more compacted), lid the jars and place in the fridge. They are ready to eat 7 days after being made.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week,