Your gut is as healthy as the bacteria that resides there. Seems simple right? We’ve got the good bacteria, the bad bacteria and a constant playoff between the balance of the two.
Our mission is to feed the good fellas and give as few reasons as possible for the bad guys to stick around. Including probiotic rich fermented foods into your diet in as many ways as possible is a steadfast plan to nourish your good bacteria. Reducing your intake of refined sugars and highly processed carbohydrates helps to starve off the bad bacteria. So, let’s focus on what we can do to build up our friends, the good guys.
Eating fermented foods for a healthy gut
Fermentation has been around for eons, utilised as an effective tool to preserve food. There were no fridges back in the year 1453 so our predecessors had to come up with some nifty ways to guarantee a food source year round.
Fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance via bacteria, yeast and other microorganisms. Typically, the organism will convert sugar into alcohol and in this case helpful good bacteria is the warmly welcomed byproduct. The longer you ferment something, the higher the alcohol content. But don’t worry, we won’t be turning cabbage into wine here friends.
Whether our ancestors were aware of it or not, fermentation also increases the bioavailability of nutrients in our food. Ingredients are pre-digested by microorganisms and our gut is the beneficiary as nutrients are more readily available and absorbed. Live, rich, cultured foods also contain loads of enzymes as a byproduct. Enzymes are required for all chemical reactions in the body and are essential for life! So, let’s load you up with some delicious fermented foods to boost your wellbeing.
Gut Loving, Probiotic Rich Organic Sauerkraut Recipe
8 cups organic red cabbage – finely shredded by knife or food processor
1.5 teaspoons of pink himalayan salt
1 small organic beetroot – finely shredded
3 organic carrots – finely shredded
*Option to add yummy spices like shredded fresh turmeric, ginger, dill seeds, caraway seeds etc.
Large mixing bowl
Sol Cleanse juice jars or other glass mason jars
- Sterilise all equipment with boiling water, allow to completely dry and to cool down to room temperature.
- Add shredded cabbage to your bowl, then salt. With clean hands, massage the salt into the cabbage for at least 10 minutes. The cabbage will shrink, soften, and liquid will start to excrete – this is good!
- Add the rest of your ingredients and massage into the salted cabbage for a further 5 minutes making sure everything is thoroughly combined and coated in the salty brine.
- Spoon your sauerkraut mixture into your glass jars, squishing and packing it down with the spoon as you go until it’s nice and tight. There should be enough leftover liquid to completely submerge and cover the kraut at the top of the jar. This is important – the layer of liquid prevents mould from growing on your kraut! If you do not have enough liquid to submerge your kraut, add a little filtered water to the top.
- Leave about 4-5cm gap of air at the top of your jars (between the liquid and the lid) to give your kraut space to expand. Seal it with your lid and place it in your pantry on a paper towel in case of leaky purple liquid (trust us, it stains).
- “Burp” your kraut once a day by unscrewing the lid – this will allow air bubbles to come to the surface and excess gas escape so your jar doesn’t explode. This is also a good time to push your kraut back below the liquid line if it has emerged, always with clean, sterilised utensils.
- Fermentation time varies depending on temperature so keep this in mind in warmer / cooler months. We’ve found the sweet spot to be about 7 days on the sunny Gold Coast. Test your sauerkraut at about the 5 day mark with a clean utensil – the longer you leave it the tangier and more probiotic rich it will get.
- Once your kraut has fermented, place her in the fridge where she will keep for up to 6 months. When serving, do not double dip to avoid contamination. Enjoy on eggs, salads, kitchari, rice dishes, poke bowls – any recipe where a sweet tanginess is warranted, the sky’s the limit!