So I've been busy replenishing all my fermented veggies. All I had left was a sad looking grey kimchi and an equally sad lemon and dill kraut!
I had forgotten how much I enjoy fermented veggies, just a tablespoon per day can boost your gut bacteria and give you a whole host of health benefits.
I used to only make plain boring old sauerkraut with cabbage and salt but since I've discovered how versatile and delicious kraut can be I've been experimenting with lots of different flavour additions!
I currently have 3 batches on the go but this pineapple turmeric ginger kraut is my absolute favourite. I love all the ingredients individually but put them together and ferment them for a few days and you have the most delicious zingy, earthy, sweet, salty and sour flavour explosion that looks like summer days, its such a vibrant bright sunshiny yellow colour!
Apart from the amazing taste, each of the ingredients have a myriad of health benefits so go figure, if you add them all together and ferment them, you add even more benefits and a load of gut healing healthy probiotics! I love the fact that whole foods work in synergy and enhance each others effects. Nutrition can't be broken down to individual components, its not a reductionist thing! Foods are more than the sum of their parts! Thats why extracting and concentrating individual minerals, vitamins or antioxidants don't work as well as the whole foods they are extracted from. There is a whole world of interactions between fibre, protein, simple sugars, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, trace elements and co enzymes, which we will never know. It's just too complex!
In my opinion, you can't improve on nature. Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, as fresh as possible, and be aware of how to enhance their health benefits.
Anyway I digress,
The brilliant thing about fermented veggies is you are providing your body with a whole host of probiotic good gut bacteria and the veggies are a food source for them! They thrive on fibre so it makes sense to eat the bacteria and the food at the same time!
Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous family, along with broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale, and has amazing gut healing and cancer fighting properties, due to the glucosinolate compounds it contains along with sulphur compounds and lots of vitamins and minerals.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which helps to digest protein, and is especially useful for clearing mucous and sinus problems. It is also a great cough suppressant and works just as well as over the counter cough remedies! It's also a powerful anti inflammatory.
Ginger is great for soothing the digestion, relieving nausea and fighting inflammation in the body.
Turmeric is a superstar in the health stakes, it is a powerful anti inflammatory, relieves pain, kills cancer cells and just works on so many levels, you would be missing out on a whole lot of healing power if you didn't include turmeric in your diet! Black pepper enhances the action of turmeric and good quality fat enhancers its absorption even further.
So as I said earlier, if you put all these amazing ingredients together and ferment them with some sea salt, then you have an awesome inflammation fighting superfood, which just happens to taste amazing too!! Bearing in mind that every chronic disease involves inflammation on some level and pretty much all of us will have some low grade inflammation going on somewhere in our body, so we can all benefit from this amazing food. And fighting inflammation is only one of the health benefits of these powerful ingredients, there are many more......
So do yourself a favour and give this amazing sauerkraut a go!!
All you need is a white cabbage, preferably organic but at least locally sourced, 1/2 pineapple, some fresh ginger and some fresh or powdered turmeric, some sea salt and a large glass jar with a lid.
I don't sterilise my jars, just wash them in hot soapy water then rinse them really well to remove any traces of soap.
You can buy large glass Mason jars or Kilner jars with clip top lids in most supermarkets. Ikea and Home Bargains are particularly good value!
The most important thing to remember when fermenting veggies of any kind, is to keep the veggies submerged in the brine. In order to do this, you need what is called a follower, meaning something to place on top of the veggies, followed by a weight of some sort to hold it all down. A large cabbage leaf works well, with a glass gu pot to weight it down, which fits perfectly in a glass mason jar.
Alternatively you can use a ziplock bag, press it down firmly on top of your veggies and fill it with brine solution or water to act as a follower and weight in one!
The idea is to keep any small bits of veggies from floating above the brine, which can cause mould or kahm yeast, neither of which you want it your lovely ferment!
This is a fast ferment and only takes 4 to 7 days. Fermentation is affected by the temperature, if its too cold your ferment will take longer. 15 to 22 degrees C is the temperature range that the bacteria we are trying to cultivate, function best at, which is essentially room temperature. Keep your jar away from direct sunlight. Your kitchen worktop or a kitchen cupboard is ideal and allows you to keep an eye on it. If any bits of cabbage float to the top then remove them or push them back under the brine. You will see bubbles as the fermentation progresses which is a good sign that all is progressing normally!
This is truly delicious and a great accompaniment to any sandwich, wrap, snack, toast, eggs, savoury dish, buffet spread or just eaten as it is. You only need a tablespoon a day to boost your gut bacteria and reap the health benefits!
Wee point to remember, please use a clean spoon or fork when taking any of your kraut from the jar. You don't want to introduce any bacteria or moulds and ruin your lovely kraut!
So here is the simple recipe...
Pineapple Turmeric Ginger Kraut
....your health in your hands....
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