I definitely wasn’t a born lover of sauerkraut, and if I’m being honest, didn’t eat it until about a year ago when I started making my own. Sally Fallon is the beloved author of Nourishing Traditions – a book which was part of my curriculum in nutrition school. I fell in love with Sally’s knowledge and back-to-basics way of cooking “real food” that nourishes the body, as opposed to just filling it. Her sauerkraut recipe was the first one that I made, and jumpstarted my love for this classic fermented condiment.
As an added tip: Sally’s beet kvass recipe (a fermented beet drink) is also delicious. 😉
Homemade fermented foods come with a number of benefits. The most notable one being that they provide our body with a great source of probiotics and enzymes, which are integral to our digestive system.
I have since made homemade kimchi, (a must if you’re a kimchi fan) and recently tried this Garlic Kale Sauerkraut recipe, which is the one I have featured below. This sauerkraut recipe came from one of my favourite real food cookbooks, Whole Life Nutrition – which you will soon be able to purchase at the BIM studio. 🙌 This enzyme and probiotic-rich recipe is flexible, simple, full of flavour and will aid with your digestion. I like to add it to my kids quesadillas, mix it in with some regular slaw, or just have a couple of tablespoons with any meal that I’m enjoying. It’s so versatile and the benefits are huge.
Why Eat Probiotics?
Dr. Mark Hyman is just one of the many medical practitioners who has been educating people on the benefits of friendly bacteria. New research is even showing that the bacteria in our guts could play a critical role in our mental well-being, energy and overall happiness. Check out his article on the subject here to learn more.
Sometimes added probiotics or enzymes in supplement form may still be needed to help re-start your gut bacteria balance. But getting your probiotics and enzymes from your food is a great place to start, and something that you should get in the habit of. Fermented foods have been a part of every culture throughout history. Kimchi, sauerkraut, beet kvass, pickled cucumbers, pickled garlic, pickled beets and the popular kombucha. These fermented food traditions have helped people keep their guts healthy throughout history, and continue to help us as we write more.
But I’d love to know what you think. Email me to share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garlic Kale Sauerkraut
Source: Whole Life Nutrition
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded – plus 2 full leaves
6 cups thinly sliced kale
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1/2 bunch of green onions finely chopped (optional)
Red chili flakes (optional) *I used about a tablespoon. I didn’t want to make it too spicy so that my kids would eat it
Shredded Carrots (optional)
- Place all the ingredients, except for the reserved cabbage leaves, into a large bowl and pound with a wooden kraut pounder or other blunt object until the vegetables have softened and released their juices. This usually takes about 5 minutes of continuous pounding.
- Scoop the vegetables and juices into a clean, widemouthed, 1-quart jar, pressing them down firmly with the kraut pounder as you add them. Fill to about 1-inch below the top of the jar. Fold the reserved small cabbage leaf and press it into the vegetables, making sure the juices rise above them. Screw the lid on tightly and place the jar into another container to catch any leaking juices. Place the container, undisturbed, in a spot in your house away from direct sunlight.
- Let the kraut ferment for 5 to 10 days. Make sure to “burp” the jar every day once bubbles start forming, usually by day 2. You can do this by slightly unscrewing the lid to release the gases and then screwing it back down.
- After fermentation it will be ready to eat, but it gets better with age. If your house is cooler, you can continue to let it ferment for another 2 to 3 weeks. Then place the jar into the refrigerator or a cool place such as a root cellar, where it will continue to ferment at a much slower rate. You can store your kraut in the fridge for 6 to 8 months.