Homemade sauerkraut recipe

Homemade sauerkraut recipe is made from one cabbage head and salt, and will be ready to eat in three days; add spring onions, garlic, ginger and chili and you've just turned it into kimchi.

By Bernard Preston

This very popular German condiment, sauerkraut, is so simple to make in your own kitchen and is an easy and very inexpensive introduction to adding probiotics regularly to your plate.




Fermented foods exist in every culture, initially just to preserve them, but now we are realising there are many other benefits.

If you are a fast food person, and the salt content of your meals is already too high, then perhaps it is wise to choose another probiotic such as kefir.

Remember a deficiency of salt is just as dangerous as too much. We all need some so our sodium levels do not fall below normal; more about that lower down.

Whether it is because of a concern about the well-being of your intestines, or a realisation that food companies simply cannot make our nosh nearly as tasty as we can ourselves, the decision to make your own homemade sauerkraut recipe yourself is absolutely sound.

You will also save a heap of money in the process for very little work.

Chop cabbage finely for sauerkraut.

Homemade sauerkraut recipe

Homemade sauerkraut recipe is so easy to make in your own kitchen.

Ingredients

  1. One head of cabbage
  2. 1 1/2 tbsp of coarse salt

For kimchi add

  • 1 cup of spring onions
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 1 red chili, without the seeds, or 5 peppadews

Go for it

  • Thinly slice the cabbage and thoroughly mix in the sea salt in a large bowl. Removed the thick stem.
  • Add the peeled and minced garlic, ginger, peppers and chopped spring onions if you're making kimchi.
  • Let it stand for about a quarter of an hour to draw the juice out of the cabbage.
  • Use a potato masher to thoroughly squish the vegetables until enough juice is released to cover the cabbage.
  • Press the vegetables and liquid into a mason jar, or other glass container with a large mouth, near to the top; if necessary add more cabbage.
  • If necessary add a little water to cover the cabbage. Loosely fit the lid.
  • Place on a plate in case it bubbles over as the fermentation occurs. Leave the jar to stand in a warm spot.
  • You can start enjoying your homemade sauerkraut recipe after three days; thereafter keep it in the fridge for a month or longer. The flavour will get stronger.
Kimchi ingredients that you add to the sliced cabbage.

Salt

Salt remains a controversial subject and certainly most of us who eat out regularly probably get too much.

However, research shows that too little salt makes you prone to metabolic syndrome, a precursor to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

A small helping of say two tablespoons of sauerkraut contains around 300mg of sodium.

So perhaps don't have olives, pizza or a canned soup in the same meal; it's generally recommended you keep it below 2300mg per day.

Salt and high blood pressure will give you some tips.

Fermentation

Virtually every culture on the planet has fermented foods of one kind or another; that might be sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and, of course, beer and wine.

Healthy bacteria and yeasts feed on the starch reducing the glycemic index and turning it into lactic acid, alcohol and other compounds.

Fermented foods, because the starch has been used up, are less fattening than those which have not been processed in this way. For example, yoghurt adds less to our waistlines than milk; unless sugar has been added, of course.

In the same way researchers have shown that the fermented cabbage in your homemade sauerkraut recipe has greater benefits for the obese and diabetic person than coleslaw.

Microbiome

It is astonishing that the happy colon has about 2kg of good bacteria, yeast cells and viruses.

There is a vast amount of scientific literature now confirming that they have a very beneficial effect on the whole body, and in particular reduce the incidence of the neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's disease, and heart attack and stroke.


In fact these friendly bacteria produce such a huge quantity of essential neurotransmitters that the colon is now being called the second brain. They also have a profound effect on our immune system.

What is more, should you inadvertently eat food that is laced with pathogens, as we all do periodically, the vast army of friendly bacteria in the gut simply help out-number the dangerous bugs that can and do make us sick.

Frequent exposure to antibiotics, and all the preservatives and other chemicals added to our processed foods, seriously depletes this microbiome as it is known. Eating probiotic food on a regular basis is the solution, not swallowing it in pill form.


Chaos erupted at a huge party to celebrate the 90th birthday of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos yesterday, with 261 friends and supporters rushed to Manila hospitals with suspected food poisoning. Emergency rooms were inundated with patients vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea and dizziness ... Reuters, July 4, 2019.


Flavonoids

There are many thousands of phytochemicals known as flavonoids that researchers are discovering are absolutely indispensable to our well-being; and they are finding that they are rendered into a more absorbable form in fermented foods like your homemade sauerkraut recipe.

Vitamins

These microorganisms actually synthesise many of the B vitamins, and K, whilst in our gut, supplementing those obtained from our food.

They have a role in anti-inflammatory processes in the body, and mop up free radicals reducing the likelihood of malignant tumours.

Their role is profound, and scientists have only discovered the tip of the iceberg. Rather than becoming neurotic we just need to eat more coloured and fermented foods.

And avoid the fast food restaurants and the plethora of processed stuff that masquerades as sustenance.

Anti-nutrients

Another very controversial subject is the role that anti-nutrients have on the absorption of our food. Personally I don't go along with it; it would mean avoiding many of what I believe are vitally important grains, vegetables and legumes.

But anyway, fermented foods like this homemade sauerkraut recipe help reduce the levels of phytates and other anti-nutrients that certainly do inhibit to some extent the absorption of minerals from our sustenance.

Digestive problems

The fermentation of fibre and undigested starch in the food that reaches the colon by the friendly bacteria certainly does produce gas and gives some people considerable discomfort.

Fermenting that food before we eat it does contribute to a happier intestine.


The role of these friendly bugs in our colon on irritable bowel syndrome, gluten intolerance and the more serious conditions like celiac disease is being fervently researched by the experts.

While solid proof doesn't yet exist, there are strong indications that fermented foods like your sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir have a profound role to play.

There is no need to wait for that solid scientific evidence; we can all start benefiting from probiotics from our food even if they don't turn out to be the cure-all that we had hoped for.

On a personal note, I have suffered terribly from epigastric pain at night for fifteen years; I had to be very careful what I ate for dinner. One week after starting to make and drink kefir every day almost completely solved the problem. I now take it twice a week.

A gastroscope examination revealed a small hiatus hernia and a heliobacter infection that would not respond to antibiotics. The friendly bugs in my own homemade medicine overcame the pathogens in just a week. Read more about it at kefir benefits.

Photograph of homemade kefir in a funnel.

Salt

New research shows that there is no scientific basis to lower our sodium intake below 2.3g per day; that's about a teaspoon of salt.

If you have high blood pressure then lowering your salt intake to that amount would have a moderately beneficial effect. Having even less however would increase the risk of metabolic syndrome.

If you eat out a lot then you almost certainly exceed the recommended sodium intake by double or more; this homemade sauerkraut recipe may exacerbate the problem.

Having said that, if you are venturing into making your own homemade sauerkraut recipe, then I doubt you frequent fast food restaurants.

Useful links

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Organic Food Green
  3. Homemade sauerkraut recipe

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