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The Basics of Fermentation

December 27, 2018

 

Learning the art of fermenting foods was the catalyst for healing our family. When I found out that there was more probiotics in one tablespoon of a probiotic food than in an entire bottle of therapeutic grade probiotics I was sold. There is 500x more vitamin C in sauerkraut than in a regular head of cabbage. It literally turns your food into a superfood complete with probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes...all the things necessary for healing the gut. Plus you get cool kitchen science experiments for the kids and a conversational piece for any lucky guests visiting your kitchen.

 

Fermentation is so much fun but it can also be daunting! You don’t want to do the wrong thing and make yourself sick, but you definitely want the amazing benefits that homemade ferments have to offer.  

 

Fear not, fermentation isn’t nearly as scary as it seems. The great thing about fermenting your own food is you can tell immediately when something’s not right.  It’s not a guessing game like traditional canning.  

 

Once you get the hang of it you’ll be hooked. Making your own ferments is an art, because no matter what you do every batch will turn out unique from the last.  

 

The Basics: Salt + Vegetables + Environment 

 

The role of salt is both protective and purposeful. It protects against harmful bacteria while also stimulating osmosis. In order to make ferments like sauerkraut, salt is needed to draw the liquid out of the cabbage so that it has a brine to make magic in. 

 

A common mistake beginners make is to not leave enough liquid above the vegetables to protect them from the elements of the outside world. I like to make a separate brine of 1 tsp sea salt to one cup of water and add some on top of my packed down vegetables.  

 

Every fermented food relies on the same principles of salt, vegetables and an environment free from oxygen so those healthy bacteria can grow.  

 

You can watch this video on how to make sauerkraut or follow the recipe below.

 

 

 

Basic Sauerkraut Method  

 

The easiest way to get started is with this basic method. You can alter it by adding spices, different vegetables, garlic, ginger, green onion, carrot etc. Get creative!  

 

Ingredients 

 

  • One head of cabbage approx. 5lbs 

  • 3 Tbsp sea salt or other non-iodized salt  

  • Spices, garlic, ginger, or other vegetables you want to add  

 

Directions 

 

  1. Chop the cabbage finely, you can use a food processor, a mandolin or do it by hand.  

  2. Liberally coat the cabbage with salt and let it sit for a few minutes.  

  3. Mix, pound and squeeze the cabbage to get as much water out of it as possible.  

  4. This is when you would add your other vegetables and spices.  

  5. Stuff mixture into mason jars. Push it down as much as you can to get rid of any air bubbles and make the salty brine rise to the surface. You want at least an inch of water above your vegetables at all times.  

  6. You can use a weight to keep the kraut submerged. Some people used the actual “butt” end of the cabbage itself, a clean rock, or you can get fancy and buy a proper fermentation weight.  

  7. Check your kraut every few days to ensure it’s still submerged.  

  8. Let it ferment to your liking, I usually let mine go for 2 weeks to a month before popping it in the fridge.  

 

 

 Want to know more about fermented foods? Check out my program Gut Health Mastery where I teach you the strategies I used with my entire family to help overcome Autoimmune Diseases, ADHD & Dyslexia, Mood Swings, Allergies, Food Sensitivities, and Seizures. 

 

Or join me in my Facebook group, #aHealthierYou, where I’ll be sharing more information, tips and recipes to help you live a happier, healthier life.  

 

To your wellness,  

 

Kimberly

 

 

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