Once I began learning the health benefits of fermented foods and realized how easy it is to do at home, I decided to give it a shot.
Fermenting vs Pickling
The majority of store-bought sauerkraut, for example, is pickled, not fermented. Pickled = preserved in an acidic medium, such as vinegar. Almost all store-bought sauerkraut has also been pasteurized and/or cooked, meaning any benefits of the “good” bacteria are basically gone. (Boo.)
Benefits of Fermented Food
As far as fermented food health benefits go, there are about 4.58 billion. (I counted.) Tons of vitamins & enzymes, boosts immune system, helps reduce inflammation, aids in digestion, helps slow/reverse certain diseases and counters the “bad” bacteria most of us have a plethora of, thanks to processed food, antibiotics, chlorinated water, environmental toxins, etc.
Most lacto-fermented foods are simply chopped up veggies submerged in a sea salt/water brine. When left at room temperature, the beneficial bacteria is able to develop and the submerged veggies become fermented.
Sauerkraut takes 2 ingredients: cabbage and sea salt. That’s it!
1. Chop cabbage into narrow strips and place in a large bowl.
2. Add 1 – 3 tablespoons of sea salt.
3. Knead cabbage until there is liquid.
4. Stuff cabbage into a glass jar. I was surprised to fit the entire chopped cabbage into a 16 oz jar.
5. Make sure the cabbage is submerged in the cabbage water and the lid is secured tightly. (open the lid every day or so to release excess pressure)
6. Leave on the counter until desired taste / texture is reached. At this point, the sauerkraut can be stored in the fridge where it will stay good for several months.
Have you tried fermented foods? What are you favorites?