In recent years the gut health-weight loss link has been getting a lot of attention. Therefore the popularity of fermented vegetables like sauerkraut has significantly increased.
Digestion is the foundation of our health. There is no denying how important digestive health is, since our bodies rely on nutrients from our food to function. In many cases, a person’s inability to reach their health and weight loss goals lies in poor gut function and the inability to absorb nutrients.
Your digestive system houses about three kilograms of bacteria that forms a delicate ecosystem in your gut, which controls your immune response, and many body processes including your mood. The gut is your second brain. 80% of the body’s total serotonin – the happy and calm hormone – is produced in the gut. So no wonder that people who have a dysfunctional gut flora (which means having more bad bacteria than good) experience bloating, feeling foggy in the head, have low mood, mood swings or tendency for depression.
Have you heard the expression “ we are what we eat?” That sounds great in theory, but in reality that it’s only part of the story. The truth is that “We are, what we absorb”, which means that you can eat all the superfoods, and protein in the world, if your gut flora and digestion are compromised, you will hardly absorb any of it. If your body is not getting the nutrients it needs, it will soon start to crave other foods. In many cases, processed foods that are high in salt, sugar and flavouring.
What’s the solution?
Introducing fermented foods like sauerkraut is an excellent and inexpensive way to rebalance your gut flora, add live enzymes and help repopulate beneficial bacteria in the gut.
However not all sauerkraut are the same. Store-bought sauerkraut is typically pasteurized; which means during processing the probiotics are killed. Making a homemade version is much healthier and cheaper. You can use a culture starter powder you can buy at health food stores, or simply use salt like I did in this recipe.
Making sauerkraut is easier than you think! Try a small batch first and see how you like it. It tastes sour, but it’s completely addictive.
Not to mention how much fun it is to make it. It is as rewarding as watching a plant grow, except you get to eat the final product. How delicious! I usually have two to three ongoing jars, including one fermenting on the counter, and one ready for snacking in the fridge.
This Turmeric Sauerkraut, not only comes with plenty of probiotics, but also contains an added bonus of anti-inflammatory turmeric. It is crunchy and delightfully sour. I love having it on it’s own as it helps diminish cravings, or add it to salads, bowls, wraps, or use it as a side dish.
To make this turmeric sauerkraut at home is very easy, and no special equipment needed. Basically, cabbage and salt are the basic ingredients, the rest is up to you.
You can also add other vegetables if you like, including celery, shredded zucchini, ginger, cauliflower or beetroot; although that’ll change the entire colour of the jar.
Below is my all time favorite version. Enjoy, I hope you love it!
- 700ml clean mason jar (ideally run it through the dishwasher to sanitise it or boil it in water)
- 140 g (5 oz – approximately ¼ of the whole cabbage) – green cabbage, shredded
- 85 g (3 oz) – peeled carrots, shredded
- ¼ red onion – finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves – minced
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger- grated or finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of grated fresh turmeric or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Firstly, make sure your mason jar is extra clean, otherwise any residues will stop the fermentation.
- Start with shredding the cabbage into thin strips. You may use long sharp knife or food processor for that purpose. Sometimes I don’t have much time so I buy shredded cabbage from the store. Time saver!
- Add carrots, onion, garlic, ginger and salt.
- Mix well and massage with your hands until the cabbage softens.
- Add turmeric.
- Mix well with tongs (so that your hands don’t stain). Set aside for 15-20 minutes (for liquid to release).
- Mix again and place into the jar. Press down with a fork so the liquid comes above the cabbage. If it’s not happening, add some water. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Now you need something to keep cabbage pressed down. Unless you have some special equipment, a simple zip lock bag filled with clean stones will do! If you don’t want to use plastic, you can use a smaller jelly or spice jar filled with clean stones that fits inside the larger mason jar.
- Fill the bag with water and squeeze into the jar above the cabbage.
- Cover with the lid and let it stand for a couple of days (usually up to 5 days) on the counter to ferment at warm room temperature. In winter it might take a bit longer. When the bubbles appear, it’s a good sign that the sauerkraut is ready! Refrigerate after it’s ready.
Recommended serving size is 1 tablespoon with each meal.