Homemade Sauerkraut More Beneficial Than Probiotic Capsules

Reposted from www.livingtraditionally.com

Raw, fermented foods packed with health-promoting probiotics have been a staple of the human diet for centuries. Sauerkraut is the probiotic king. It is the superior source of LIVE probiotics and enzymes, and due to its pre-digested state brought on by the fermentation process, these nutrients are highly bioavailable to the body.

Dr. Joseph Mercola sent a sample of his homemade sauerkraut off to a lab and reported the findings of probiotics saying, “We had it analyzed. We found in a 4-6 ounce serving of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.”

This incredible discovery means that just 2 ounces of homemade sauerkraut has more probiotics than a whole bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. One 16 oz jar of sauerkraut is equivalent to about 8 bottles of probiotics!

The numerous benefits of fermented foods are undeniable. They’ve been a staple of the human diet for centuries. Many people know sauerkraut as a traditional topping for a hot dog. But it is so much more than that.  Did you know that in the 18th century, sailors ate sauerkraut on long voyages to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency? Also, Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China (more than 2000 years ago) ate shredded cabbage fermented in rice wine.

Sauerkraut is made by pickling cabbage in a process called lacto-fermentation. It’s rich in enzymes that aid digestion and promote nutrient assimilation. If you consume sauerkraut, it will help to boost your body’s ability to digest foods properly and also aids in the absorption of nutrients.
Some of the nutritive benefits of sauerkraut include:
• Vitamin B1, B6, B9, C and K
• Manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron
• A great source of dietary fiber
• An excellent source of antioxidants and phytonutrients
• Rich in indole-3-carbinol
However, not all sauerkraut is equal. Most conventional store bought sauerkraut does not have the same benefits as homemade does. This is because it is heavily treated and pasteurized, thus destroying the fragile bacteria that sauerkraut is known for.  Making your own sauerkraut is a great way to make sure you are getting enough probiotics.
Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt

Directions

  • Remove large outer leaves from cabbage and set aside.
  • Core and shred cabbage.
  • In a bowl, mix cabbage with sea salt.
  • Massage with your hands for about ten minutes. Juices will be released.
  • Put the cabbage in a suitable fermentation container and pound down until juices come up and cover the cabbage, leave about 2 inches of space at the top.
  • Cover the sauerkraut with a plate. Place a glass jug filled with water on the plate to press it down.
  • Press down to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it.
  • Keep it at room temperature (covered with a towel).  Fermentation will begin within a day, depending upon the room temperature. It will ferment best in a cool, dark place at a temperature that is consistently 64 to 70 degrees.
  • Fermentation can take up to 3 weeks to a month. After fermenting, you can transfer it to the refrigerator.

There are so many different “lacto-fermented” vegetables and sauces that you can make at home. Use the same basic procedure. Salt is the magic ingredient. You don’t need or even want to use vinegar.

A wonderful resource that I use quite a bit is Cultures For Health. You can find dozens of recipes for lacto-fermentation on this website. They will open your mind to all kinds of different cultured food that are so good for your health. Some of the ones I like are fermented green beans and fermented bell peppers.

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Beet Kvass – A Sweet /Salty Drink With Tons of Health Benefits

I learned about Beet Kvass a few years ago, from my copy of Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. Beets are a remarkable dark red vegetable that when fermented into Kvass, the benefits just explode.

Sally Fallon has this to say about Beet Kvass:

“This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments. Beet kvass may also be used in place of vinegar in salad dressings and as an addition to soups.”

I have been making beet kvass now for about 6 months. It is a weekly process that I actually look forward to. I make 1/2 gallon of kvass at a time, using 3 medium sized beets. I peel the beets and then cut them up into quarter-inch pieces. I add one tablespoon sea salt and then fill the half gallon jar up with the beets and filtered water.

After putting a lid on the jar, I set the beets aside, in a relatively warm area. The mixture is ready in 2 to 3 days. I also use the beets again to make a 2nd fermentation. Same process, but this time I add 1/4 cup of the kvass juice from the first fermentation. This helps speed up the fermentation process.

Another Way to Make Beet Kvass:  From Homestead.org.

For people who do not care for the taste of beets but still want the health benefits, there are an infinite number of ways you can dress up the basic recipe.  Try adding fruit such as fresh squeezed orange juice or chunks of apple.  Play with different herbs and spices like lavender or cinnamon.  One of my favorite varieties is the addition of carrots and ginger.   

Carrot Ginger Kvass 

  •   1 beet

  •   2 carrots sliced or grated
  •   1 inch chunk of ginger chopped or grated
  •   1 ½ teaspoons salt
  •   ⅛ cup whey (optional, if not using whey double the amount of salt)
  •   filtered water

  Follow the same method as for the plain kvass, simply adding carrots and ginger   to the mix.  Please note that for carrots and ginger grating or shredding does not pose the same issue as with the beets.  You may however find it difficult to keep the smaller pieces of vegetable under the brine.  Complete submersion is important since mold can form on any bits that rise above the surface. 

More great advice from The Kitchn.com:

Beet kvass may be an acquired taste for some, but those who love it often wax enthusiastically about its health properties and energizing effects. Like other lacto-fermented, probiotic foods, beet kvass can promote intestinal health and aid digestion. You might drink it straight-up as a daily tonic or cook with it like vinegar — it’s great in salad dressings and soups like borscht. It even makes an interesting cocktail mixer, similar to a vinegar shrub.

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