Fermented Veggies - Why and How To.
How the gut functions has both a direct and indirect effect on every single cell in the human body.
Your gut is the gateway to the health of your brain and your immune system and researchers are finding out more and more about the important role of healthy gut flora in achieving overall health.
It is argued that the root of almost all chronic diseases starts in the gut and that even many minor ailments such as tiredness, aches and pains, allergies, mood swings, eczema and constipation, can all be directly related to gut dysfunction.
In order to keep our gut and thus ourselves, healthy, we need to maintain the good bacteria in our gut and limit the growth of the bad bacteria (pathogenic bacteria responsible for disease and a ton of unpleasant symptoms).
So how can we promote the growth and presence of good bacteria in our gut? One of the BEST ways is by eating fermented foods!
Fermented foods are made up of the good bacteria our gut needs. There is no better way to colonize your gut with beneficial bacteria than by eating fermented foods.
These include sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables, tempeh (fermented soybean cake), miso, and kombucha (a fermented tea, make sure you look for one with no added sugar), kefir (a fermented yogurt, and again, make sure you look for a full fat version and one with no added sugar or flavourings).
Just be careful when you’re buying fermented veggies, that you don’t get the pasteurized version (with added vinegar) sold in most stores.
The pasteurization process destroys the enzymes and is void of the beneficial bacteria I’m talking about here.
The ingredients should only list the vegetables, sea salt and the herbs or seasonings used. They will be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery or health food store.
You can also find lots of healthy versions online (or you can easily make your own, keep reading to see how!).
Fermented foods not only feed your healthy gut bacteria but they also:
aid in digestion (and they are great for anyone with a weak digestive tract who have a hard time digesting food)
have enhanced nutrient value…that means MORE vitamins and minerals for you while eating less!
help control cravings for sweets (yes please!)
aid in weight loss
help pregnant and breastfeeding women transfer beneficial bacteria to their infants
help eliminate toxins from the body
help turn toxic by-products back into healthy amino acids (eating animal protein creates toxic by-products in the intestines and by eating the fermented veggies WITH the animal protein, the fermented veggies help to turn the toxins back into healthy amino acids)
they are extremely alkalizing and cleansing for the body.
additionally, fermented vegetables have had profound positive effects on children with autism.
If you are completely new to fermented foods, they may take a bit of getting used to.They have a bit of a strong, tangy flavour but you quickly become used to the taste (and smell!) even if it’s not love at first bite!
Donna Gates' book, The Body Ecology Diet, is a great resource if you're interested in finding out more about fermented vegetables.
Ok all you go gutters, here’s an easy fermented veggie recipe for you to try at home. I promise, other than being a little messy, it’s really very simple! So roll up your sleeves, wash your hands and let’s get fermenting!
Source: Danielle Ramirez; fermentedfoodlab.com
1 Head Of Cabbage
1 Tablespoon Of Sea Salt
Pull 3 outer leaves off the head of cabbage, set aside and cut cabbage in half.
Remove the cores from the cabbage and set aside.
Cut the cabbage into thin strips and place in a large bowl. You can also use a food processor or cabbage shredder for this step.
Add the salt to the cabbage. Using your hands, mix and massage (squeeze) the salt into the cabbage for 5 minutes. Set the cabbage aside and let it sit for 15-20 minutes so the sea salt has time to draw out the liquid and make the cabbage soft.
Mix and squeeze the cabbage until it's soft and when squeezed juice comes out. If you want to add other veggies, spices or herbs to your kraut, do it in this step. Mix and squeeze them with the cabbage.
Pack the cabbage in the mason jar tightly with either your hand or a vegetable pounder. Push it all the way down until it submerges in its own juices (this is the brine).
Fill the jar until there is about 1-2 inches of space from the top. Pour the rest of the brine into the jar to cover the cabbage in brine.
If you need to, add extra brine to the jar to ensure the sauerkraut is fully submerged (see brine recipe below).
Take one of the cabbage cores and place it on top of the cabbage. This will act as a weight to keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Or use a fermentation weight to keep it submerged.
Roll up one of the outer cabbage leaves you set aside in step 1. Stuff the rolled up cabbage leaf on top of the cabbage core. This will keep the sauerkraut under the brine.
Screw on the jar loosely so gas can escape as fermentation takes place Or use and airlock lid. Set on the counter for 5-7 days in a cool, shaded place.
Place a plate under the mason jar in case it bubbles over and makes a mess.
During fermentation the sauerkraut will bubble, become dull in colour and the brine will get cloudy. When ready, store the sauerkraut in the refrigerator. Remove the rolled up cabbage leaves and toss in the garbage before eating. Sauerkraut will last for several months.
4 cups filtered water
3 tablespoons fine sea salt (real sea salt has a pinkish hue)
Combine the water and the salt in any container with a tight fitting lid, stirring to blend (the salt will eventually dissolve). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If the bring is needed immediately, dissolve the salt in 1 cup of very warm filtered water and then combine it with the remaining 3 cups of cold water.
🌱NOTES: How To Tell If Your Sauerkraut Is Fermenting
The sauerkraut will become duller in colour.
The brine will become cloudy.
Small air pockets will form.
When you open a lid (if it was closed tight in the first place) gas will escape making a hiss sound.
It will take on a tangy flavour.
The veggies will keep in the fridge for many weeks, becoming softer and more delicious as time passes.
Cultured vegetables can be eaten on salads, as a side dish or on their own and they combine particularly well with protein or starch meals which can be very heavy on the body and hard to digest.
Eat at least ½ cup of fermented veggies with every meal and...enjoy!