Fermented cabbage. Sounds gross until you try it, for example on a German sausage roll. Fermented foods are generally good for you, they contain a variety of bacteria that your gut needs to do its job properly. About 70% of your immune system is located in your gut, so you better look after it.
Sauerkraut is sold in supermarkets and health shops but sometimes has crap in it (sugar, vinegar) and almost always has been pasteurised, meaning the bacteria are not alive anymore. Your best bet is to make your own: it’s easy and cheap. I don’t know why it took me this long to get started.
There are a zillion recipes online, all of them are pretty much the same when it comes to the procedure, some of them include extra vegetables/spices you can add to your kraut. Here are a few good links:
- Balanced Bites recipe #1
- Balanced Bites recipe #2
- Mark’s Daily Apple recipe
- I Eat Mostly Meat recipe
I made my first batch of sauerkraut with a quarter of a large green cabbage, 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt and 1/2 tablespoon of caraway seeds. I sliced it thinly and “massaged” it with my hands as per the instructions until it released most of its water, then I placed it in a clean sterilised jar and put a less wide clean sterilized jar filled with water on top of the cabbage to keep it under the water. I finally covered it with a clean tea towel to keep the bugs away and left it on a table we rarely use.
The weather has been crazy these days (for a change…) so I guess the fermentation process hasn’t been as smooth as it should be. The cabbage volume keeps reducing as it ferments because it keeps releasing water. I’m not an expert in the matter, so I really don’t know when it’s ready to go but after eight days I reckoned it smelled great, so I discarded the top part (in the photo, where the colour changes) and tasted it.
We had some with our typical Saturday breakfast: bacon, eggs and avocado.
Other sources of fermented goodness are kimchi (which I like, although not as much as sauerkraut), kombucha (I haven’t tried it), and kefir (I’ve tried it and kinda liked it but dairy in general is not very good for me). That being said, people who suffer from migraines should avoid fermented foods (the already mentioned plus wine, beer, cheese, vinegar, etc) because they contain histamines. For them it’s better to take probiotic capsules.