Why fermented foods? Your gut health depends on a balance of "good and bad" bacteria. We call the bad bacteria candida and when it controls the gut, ill health follows. Your symptoms are not just belly or bowel troubles, but they can develop into autoimmunity, malnutrition, pain, lethargy, anxiety and a range of unimaginable symptoms.
Your gut health is so important, I would say never accept a diagnosis until you have cleaned your gut and are sure it is not the source of your problems. Additionally, if you have taken antibiotics, as well as many other drugs, you must provide support to the gut or expect it to be unhappy.
How does a gut get sick? Your diet is the instigator of poor gut health. Candida feeds on sugars, which can include white flour and dairy. When you are constantly feeding the "bad" bacteria, the "good" bacterial becomes overpowered. Once that happens, your body begins to falter and becomes acidic which can easily be read on pH strips. Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, yogurt, miso and others, feed the good bacteria and keep you at your best.
To make sauerkraut, you will need only three ingredients:
- Filtered water
- Sea salt
1) Make a salt water brine consisting of 1.5 tablespoons of salt to every four cups of water. (Adjust amounts proportionately.) Gently warm the water and mix in the salt until it dissolves. Using Himalayan Powder Salt makes this job easier. Let cool completely.
2) Meanwhile, chop your cabbage thinly and massage it in a bowl with your hands for a few minutes. This will soften the cabbage and allow it to release some of its own juices.
3) Pack cabbage tightly into wide-mouthed pint, quart, or half-gallon jars. Cover cabbage with the salt brine and be sure to leave about ½-1” head space at the top of the jar.
4) Use glass weights to hold down the cabbage under the brine. (This prevents spoilage through unwanted exposure to air.) Install the Fermentools lid and airlock per manufacturer instructions to allow for the release of carbon dioxide as the cabbage ferments.
5.) Leave sauerkraut at room temperature to ferment. Waiting is the hardest step!
Remember to not leave sauerkraut too long in extremely warm conditions, as too much heat could cause it to spoil. Check your kraut every day or two to taste and smell its progress. Make sure to always test the kraut with clean hands and utensils.
How long do you have to wait? Sauerkraut can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to finish, depending on environment and taste preferences. Generally, kraut should be pleasantly sour and tangy, but ultimately it is finished when you think it tastes right to you.
6) Move sauerkraut to cold storage (i.e., a refrigerator or root cellar).
Enjoy your sauerkraut on hot dogs, pork, sausage, or other meat, or even on top of eggs for breakfast! Remember to add it at the last moment of cooking to avoid killing the good bacteria that are part of traditionally lacto-fermented foods.