Sauerkraut, German for sour cabbage, has become a generic name for fermented vegetables. Around the time of Captain James Cook, sauerkraut was a key preventative for scurvy by European seafarers. According to William Dufty, author of the Sugar Blues, sauerkraut was able to counteract the antinutrient properties of dietary refined sugar. Dufty's contention was that scurvy was not so much caused by the absence of fresh foods rich in vitamin C, but by the consumption of a diet high in refined sugar which depleted the body of vitamins and minerals and thereby contributed to the condition.
In the book, The Hidden Drug: Dietary Phosphate by Hertha Hafer, the author makes a very telling point when she writes that, "A spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before bed may ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD". She further notes that before the 1900's, those people living on a traditional diet did not suffer from ADHD. Fermented vegetables produce lactic acid and if the acetobacter microorganisms are present then it seems likely that some acetic acid will also be produced.
It is also worth noting that a number of Traditional Chinese Medicine remedies utilise fermented vegetables and fruits, such as Umboshi plums. Whereas raw cabbage, that is the ubiquitous coleslaw served at salad bars and fast food outlets, may lead to a depressed thyroid functioning if eaten in large quantities, fermented cabbage and other vegetables provide many health benefits and should not be under estimated for their healing powers. Kimchi is such a ubiquitous part of Korean culture that employees get a kimchi allowance with their pay. Koreans use a wide variety of vegetables, fruit such as apples, oranges and lemons, salted fish, sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds. You may wish to start with the following recipe and adapt it to your creative instincts.
Makes enough to fill two 2 litre mason jars.
Add the salt to a plastic food grade bucket then mix in the rest of the ingredients as follows: Finely chop the chilly and the green onions. Slice the carrot and radish. Chop the capsicum into large pieces. Slice the broccoli stalks then cut the florets into single one inch heads. Grate the ginger root. Chop the garlic. Process the cabbage through a food processor. Finally mix in the kefir whey and EM cultures.
Transfer the sauerkraut to mason jars with tongs then use the back of a wooden spoon or tamper to push the mixture to the bottom of the jar. Keep forcing the mixture into the jar until there are no air pockets. The mixture should be quite wet. Fill the jar to about 2 inches from the top. This head space is necessary for any expansion that may take place.
Wipe the inside of the neck clean with a paper towel and screw on a plastic lid firmly to prevent any liquid spilling over. If you have concerns about pressure build up in the jar then you may wish to leave the lid slightly loose.
Store the jars on a stainless steel tray away from sunlight at room temperature (20-30 Celsius).
Important: Each day push the sauerkraut down with a wooden spoon to keep the top layer wet. Ferment for 1-2days at 30 C or about 5 days at 20 C, before transferring the kimchi to a refrigerator. The sauerkraut matures with age.
1. Once you have filled the jars with sauerkraut then you may find it advantageous to spread a layer of grated cabbage over the surface of the sauerkraut to cover any pieces of chunky vegetables that might remain above the fermenting juice, and thereby end up growing mould. In the event that any mould forms on the surface just scrap it off. If the top layer dries out it is because the mixture was not wet enough to start with. If the sauerkraut goes off or grows suspicious looking mould, then discard it and start again. Some types of mould can provide mycotoxins. In the future ensure that the mixture is wet enough, either by grating the vegetables finer or bashing the vegetables in a large pestle to bruise the cell walls, or by adding additional kefir whey or EM. You may wish to add a little apple cider vinegar at the end of the fermentation period. You may also wish to experiment with using more salt.
2. Go easy on the chile. A little chile goes a long way in sauerkraut, and remember to wash your hands after handling it.
3. EM stands for Effective Microbes. It is not necessary to add EM to the sauerkraut. EM can be used to make ginger beer type beverages.
Links to articles on the possible health benefits of cultured vegetables.
Kimchi may cure bird flu? Researchers at Seoul National University say that kimchi, a Korean version of sauerkraut, may provide protection against avian flu. In an experiment, 11 out of 13 chickens recovered from the disease after being fed kimchi.
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4347443.stm and http://www.newstarget.com/005897.html. See also the Seoul National University website
Good Bacteria: Just as scientists are belatedly recognizing that cholesterol can be good, so have they recognized that bacteria can be friendly. According to an article in Newsweek (3/26/01), "It's hard to imagine microbes as our allies. But mounting evidence suggests that these friendly flora aid digestion, ward off pathogens and help us process folic acid and other critical nutrients." The friendly bacteria are the hundreds of strains of lactobacilli, which formerly were in our diets when we ate natural lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut and yogurt. Actually, the medical profession used to understand this principle. At the Civil War Cemetery and Pest House in Lynchburg, VA, visitors learn that Dr. John Hay Terrill was able to reduce the death rate from small pox from 90 percent to 5 percent by giving his patients sauerkraut. As humans develop more and more resistance to antibiotics, health practitioners will return to nature's natural antibioticsthe friendly flora in lacto-fermented foods. Reprinted with kind permission from the Weston A. Price Foundation website.
Science of sauerkraut: "Studies have shown that lacto-fermented foods normalise stomach acidity... The lactic acid in saurkraut supports the pancreas, which is particularly important for diabetics. Sauerkraut contains large amounts of choline, a substance that lowers blood pressure and aids in the metabolism of fats. It also contains acetylcholin which reduces blood pressure, slows the heart rate and promotes calmness and sleep."Renee Konstantine Blog
1 teaspoon = 5 ml / 5 gm. 1 tablespoon = 15 ml / 15 gm. 15 tablespoons = 1 cup / 225 ml. 1 cup = 8 fluid oz / 225 ml. 1 US gallon = 3.6 litres. 1 lb = 16 oz / 454 gm. Temperature 20C = 68F. Conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius: C = (F - 32) / 1.8. Conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit: F = C x 1.8 + 32
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