This blog comes about from an interesting conversation I had with a lovely Indian lady in the supermarket when I was trying to choose my next purchase of sauerkraut. I recently tried to make my own Kim Chi, Korea’s version of sauerkraut using a similar process and it didn’t turn out that great. Hence I didn’t post a photo of it. Sauerkraut is however easy to make. All you need to do is combine shredded cabbage with some salt and pack it into a glass jar. The cabbage releases liquid, creating its own brining solution. Submerged in this liquid for a period of several days or weeks, the cabbage slowly ferments into the crunchy, sour condiment we know and love as sauerkraut.
So what exactly is sauerkraut? Wikipedia explains it as “sour cabbage”, is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pedicoccus. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavour, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.
What are the health benefits? So this is why I decided to blog about sauerkraut as the Indian lady in the supermarket had told me that she had awful trouble with stomach ulcers and she was adamant that her approach to improving her health was due to natural medicinal remedies including the consumption of sauerkraut. She proceeded to tell me that where she was from in India her mother and her grandmother both traditionally made sauerkraut for their families and that it was an old traditional food her culture have been eating for years.
When researching I found that sauerkraut has been used in Europe for centuries to treat stomach ulcers, so I felt very privileged that the lovely Indian lady that stopped to talk to me about my choice of sauerkraut actually took the time to share her knowledge with me.
The health benefits of sauerkraut or fermented foods may:
* Provide enzymes that help you absorb and digest nutrients in food
* Increase your consumption of vitamin C, B and K especially B12
* It is also low in calories and high in calcium and magnesium, and it is a very good source of dietary fibre, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese
* Replenish and maintain your intestinal flora
* Sharpen the mind
* Detoxify your body
* Remedy a full spectrum of ailments
* Treat candida and fungal conditions
* Fortify your immune system
* Help with auto-immune disorders
* Nourish pregnant and nursing mums
* Clear skin
* Support weight loss
* Control sweet cravings
* Help you reach your healthiest potential
So how do I use sauerkraut? I generally use it as a condiment to any meal especially with meats i.e. steak. I also add it to my salads and add it to my left over lunches I take to work to add a bit more flavour and crunch.
If you haven’t tried sauerkraut why not give it a go. There are so many different flavour combinations of sauerkraut available in the fridge section of your supermarket (make sure you read the labels to ensure no nasties have been added) or why not try making your own! Another simple, easy, healthy change to you and your family’s lifestyle.