Focus on a nutrient.
I may be bending the rules a little on this one – I don’t know if probiotics quite fit into the nutrient category but in terms of beneficial things for your body I definitely think that they are up there. Probiotics are good bacteria that help your body with digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as prevent bad bacteria taking over your system – they are our little buddies that like to help keep everything in balance. I’m sure that’s a very layman’s explanation, but that’s my understanding (also I often picture the little blue dudes from the probiotic ads that battle all the baddies for us).
So since I did a couple of fermentation workshops I have been pretty obsessed with fermenting stuff. I haven’t experimented a whole lot, in that I’ve really stuck with the things I know – kim chi, sauerkraut and salsa. I try to remember to have a little bit of fermented goodness every day, often I will treat it as though it’s a salad dressing, packing it in my work lunches.
One thing I have played around with though is variations of sauerkraut. After having a few store bought versions from the health food store, I started scanning the ingredients lists for ideas. One of the ones that I had enjoyed most included carrot and turmeric and was a beautiful vibrant colour. Turmeric is well known for it’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties, so I like to incorporate it into my diet as much as possible.
(makes 2 large jars)
2 small green cabbages (about 1.5kg)
3 large carrots (about 600g)
1 Tbsp fresh turmeric
2 Tbsp fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp sea salt
1½ tsp celery seeds
Pinch of chili (optional)
Sterilise two large glass jars in preparation for the kraut.
Remove outer layers of cabbage and put aside for later. Chop cabbage finely and place in a large bowl. I actually had to use two bowls for this recipe as my bowls were not large enough. Grate carrots and add to bowl. Use a microplane grater to grate turmeric and ginger, and add to bowl, along with garlic, salt, celery seeds and chili (if using).
You may want to use gloves for this part as turmeric can leave you with lovely yellow stains on your skin. Using your hands, squeeze and mash the cabbage mix. breaking up the fibres, for a good few minutes. You will notice that the mixture will reduce in size and liquid will start to release from the veggies. When it’s about half the size it started, put a heavy bowl (or a lighter bowl with some heavy items in it) on top of the mixture to weigh it down, allowing more liquid to release from the mix. Leave for 15-30 minutes.
Come back and remove the bowl. Pack the cabbage into your prepared jars, making sure to push the mix below the liquid. Leave about an inch of free space at the top of the jar, as the mixture may expand during the fermentation process. It is also important that the cabbage mix remain submerged in the liquid so that mould does not grow on top. If there is not enough liquid, add a little water. Once packed, you can press one of the outer leaves of cabbage into the top of the jar to help keep the kraut submerged. From here, you can either place the lid on top or put a weight on top of the mix (a jar full of liquid, or one of those awesome ceramic weights) with a clean damp towel covering it. Leave out of direct sunlight for 5-7 days, checking each day to ensure the kraut remains submerged (if it is not, just push it back under with a clean utensil). Remove cabbage leaf, transfer to fridge and begin to enjoy! Make sure you always use a clean utensil when dishing out the kraut.