Fermented foods are some of the best and easiest ways to eat your probiotics. Fermented foods improve digestion and can actually INCREASE the nutritional value of your foods.
Before I tell you my personal favorite fermented foods, did you know that even Captain Cook had barrels of sauerkraut on his ship and even after 27 months at sea, it was still delicious enough to serve to some Portuguese noblemen who had come aboard. Throughout many temperature changes and constant movements of the ship, the sauerkraut was perfectly preserved and had vitamin C to protect the sailors whilst at sea!
Pickling also had value on land. A typical Peasant’s lunch had many aspects of cultured and fermented foods. People often ate pickled herring, pickled garlic, pickled cucumbers, raw cheddar cheese, kvass, and sour dough bread with cultured butter! How yummy a whole meal of cultured food would be!
Here are some of my favorite fermented foods:
- It is low in calories and sugar, packed full of probiotics, has a little fizz to it, and I find it to be delicious. Some people can’t stand the taste and it can taste like vinegar to some people, but if you haven’t tried it and are down for a new taste, I love Kombucha. For those of you who have found the joy of this drink, drink on!
- Another wonderfully cultured drink. This is made with milk so those with milk allergies this one may not work for you. Nomadic shepherds made this drink dating back thousands of years! The probiotics it delivers though… 7 billion to 10 billion! Wow! Cultures love milk products. Traditional cheese, buttermilk, yogurt, and kefir are all ways we have made milk more digestible.
- I even love to make this one. It is not that hard actually. This literally translates from German to “sour cabbage.” Use shredded cabbage, salt, caraway seeds and pound until the cabbage releases its own juices. There are plenty of recipes online for it. You can also look into the perfect pickler. Look for those that do not have preservatives added for the most benefit.
- This is an Indonesian food that is 2,000 years old. It is protein rich fermented soy beans. Cook this with other foods as it absorbs the flavors of other foods.
Here is a quick and easy recipe for homemade sauerkraut. I love making this and find it to be very rewarding to eat your own creations. It takes a few hours of slicing and pounding so I usually set up with some music or a good podcast to listen to while I do it.
I use the book Nourishing Traditions for many of my recipes and find it to be literally invaluable in my life. I keep it close to my kitchen for easy access.
- 1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons why (buy whole milk plain yogurt and separate with cheese cloth. Let the whey drip into a container and keep the curds to make a cheese)
Most recipes say to pound the salt, caraway and cabbage and whey in a jar and pound, but I find it much easier to do it directly in the jar that I make it in. I usually choose a quart jar and add cabbage up to the top then pound it down each time with the salt and whey already added.
For the pounder, a small wooden bat-like pounder works well for me. I just proceed the pound the cabbage until it releases its juice. You want the juice on top of the kraut. I also save 2 whole leaves to place on top of the kraut and press down to ensure the kraut is under the juice/whey/salt mixture.
Store for 3 days and can be eaten right away but I prefer it better as it ages a little bit more.