Basic Sauerkraut is so delicious (see my how to here). I have it with eggs, add it so my coleslaw (kraut slaw here) and try to have it with any meat dish as a side. The sour flavour works well to stimulate gastric acids too so it a great primer for any fat, protein rich foods.
Since cabbage has so many health giving properties (read here), combining it with beetroot and ginger makes so much sense. The rich, sweetness and earthiness of the beetroot goes so well with the heat of the ginger and the sourness of the kraut. It hits all of the senses on the palate and really satisfy the taste buds.
Of course the rich myriad of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and blood boosting qualities of the beetroot with the anti-inflammatory, warming and nourishing properties of ginger are made even more available to the body with the fermentation process. The presence of a well balanced symbiosis of bacteria allows the body access to these nutrients, to absorb and use them to help promote wellbeing and healing.
Start in the same way as you would with the basic sauerkraut. When the cabbage and salt have been massaged together, combine the beetroot and ginger (I have used raw and powdered ginger and both work well) before packing it all into your jar.
Beetroot and Ginger Sauerkraut
A rich nutritious flavouring of sauerkraut. Great to assist in the body's wellbeing and healing process. Really good to help digestion of fat or protein rich foods in a meal.
I have been reducing my grain intake to try and reduce inflammation and heal my digestive system. Read a bit more about my journey here. I also try to avoid nightshades and especially potatoes- which I have never really liked anyway! Over the last couple of years staples on the dinner table are cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash, sweet potato chips, sweet potato mash and sweet potato rosti. We love roasted parsnips, carrot and parsnip mash and parsnip rice. I love it in the summer because it is light, filling and is delicious raw (see my parsnip couscous recipe).
2 parsnips fills 2-3 adults which is great because it it super quick and easy to make and goes great in salads, with bbq’s, curry’s, stews and anything you would use rice for. You can also steam this and make fried rice with it if you want to.
Kefir Whey, Lemon and Garlic Fermented Green Beans
I joined a challenge to eat a fermented food every day for 30 days (see here). I have been inspired to get fermenting. I made my first sauerkraut and now I wanted to do green beans. I also have a big jar of whey in my fridge from making Kefir Cheese. The benefit of using Kefir whey is that you also benefit from the many strains of bacteria and yeast combined within Kefir (rather than the 1/2 strains from yoghurt whey)
Kefir Whey, Lemon and Garlic Fermented Green Beans
A fresh tasting, vibrant way to ferment green beans- Great for snacking on adding to salads and sandwiches.
Here is how I have tried to make sauerkraut- without a crock or any kind of fancy equipment! Just what I already have in the house.
Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented. Normally made from finely shredded cabbage and salt. The salt preserves the cabbage for a few days while the probiotic bacteria begin to grow. Raw naturally fermented sauerkraut contains lactic acid and the living probiotic microorganisms that are beneficial to the digestive and immune systems.
Fermented cabbage has a long history of providing benefits for many different health conditions mainly because fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage.
I have used a mix of half red cabbage and half white cabbage cause I love both. Cabbage is one of the cruciferous vegetables which may have huge benefits on the digestive and hormonal systems. The vibrant colour of red cabbage reflects it concentration of protective phytonutrients, far more than a green cabbage. This enhances the claims to health benefits such as dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Fermenting these (and adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to potentially further enhance them) make these nutrients a powerful mix of goodness and healing for the body.
Here is the recipe with directions and I have photos to follow
A simple way to ferment cabbage using only salt and cabbage!
1-2% of cabbage weight in sea salt/ pink Himalayan salt (I generally use 1.5% weight)
Mason Jar (or litre jar)
Jar which will fit into the mouth of the mason jar or
A ceramic crock/ glass fido jar with a wide opening with a plate on top to weigh down the cabbage
Try and retain one of the outside leaves of the cabbage for later, cut out heart of cabbage
Weigh the cabbage and times the weight by 0.015 to find out 1.5%. Weigh out that amount in salt.
Thinly slice your cabbage.
Add the thinly sliced cabbage to a non reactive bowl (plastic, glass, stainless steel or ceramic).
Add the salt and get your hands in there to massage and work in the salt. The cabbage will quickly become softer and wilted. You will start to see water collecting in the bottom of the bowl.
Add to the mason jar/ceramic crock pushing the cabbage down with a wooden spoon, potato masher or your other jar. You can also just use your fingers. You will notice the brine being created and rising up to the top of the cabbage.
When all the cabbage is in the jar then you place the retained cabbage leaf on the top- this will ensure all the stray bits remain under the brine. Push the smaller jar down and weigh down with either ceramic baking beads, marbles or rocks. This step is not compulsory but does help the first few days of fermenting as it makes it easy to continue to push the kraut down to keep the cabbage in the brine.
Leave for 1 week and taste, depending on the temperature and humidity levels of your fermenting spot- leave for up to 28 days. Ferment to taste so continue to taste and then refrigerate when you like it!
Ensure that the cabbage stays under the brine to reduce mold and mildew growth.
This is the basic recipe. You can play with flavouring your sauerkraut with turmeric, apple, caraway seeds, fennel seeds or carrot.
Here are the baking beads I use to weigh down the smaller jar
Here is the jar set up again-underneath the jar you can see the whole leaf of cabbage to keep the little bits under the brine.
Thank you to here for the tip about the whole leaf of cabbage. Once the fermentation has been going a few days I will remove the second jar and put a lid on the jar.
If you use a lid be aware you need to release the build up of carbon dioxide which is a product of all fermentation. Depending on the speed of fermentation (which as mentioned before- depends on the temperature and humidity levels in your fermentation spot) this may be daily.
I will post below what it looks like over the next few days and weeks.
Isn’t it pretty!
To make things easier for you, here is my pdf printable notes for you to make it at home! Let me know what you flavour yours with…
Sweet potatoes are native to Central America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. It is documented that they may have been consumed since prehistoric times as sweet potato relics have been discovered in some Peruvian caves. Christopher Columbus first brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492.
They have a creamy texture with a sweet, warm and a little spicey flavour that makes them ideal for savoury dishes. However they are also great in cakes, cookies, smoothies and even to make ice-cream. Although peak season for sweet potatoes is October to March, they are a vegetable that is readily available, inexpensive, and delicious.
Depending upon the variety, there are around 400 different ones, the skin and flesh of the sweet potato may be almost white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, or deep purple. The Japanese and Korean white/cream and American yellow-orange flesh are most common.
Although sometimes referred to as ‘yams’ in the USA, sweet potatoes belong to an entirely different food family. They are also very different from the common potato. Sweet potatoes are far more nutrient dense and healing. Their properties and uses are diverse, and when you choose sweet potatoes as a dietary root vegetable, you are getting a truly unique and superior type of potato. Some of the benefits include
They are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked to degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin also plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen, which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity (sweet potatoes make us look young- bonus!), and is essential to helping us cope with stress. The anti-oxidant properties also may help to preventcancer.
They contain some Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and may support the thyroid gland.
Sweet potato’s are full of beta-carotene’s good for eyesight, immune system and digestive health.
Sweet potatoes contain some iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and protein metabolism, among other things.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function.
Another interesting thing about sweet potatoes is the antioxidant capacity of all their parts. Recent research has shown differences in consuming the flesh versus skin of the sweet potato. Both producing different concentrations of anthocyanin antioxidants. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes (when you can find them- Asia has them fairly regularly) are a fantastic source of anthocyanins (especially peonidins and cyanidins) as the darker and more vibrant the colour of a vegetable the more antioxidants they contain. In one study, the antioxidant activity in purple sweet potatoes was seen to be up to 3 times higher than that of blueberries.
Since they are not actually a potato so therefore not a deadly nightshade, sweet potato can actually have a healing effect on your digestive system rather than an irritating one. The fibres in the sweet potato actually feed the bacteria and are classed as fermentable as a prebiotic (food for bacteria). This therefore helps to create a more balanced bacterial environment in your digestive system. Thus giving a digestive healing effect with an immune boost too.
Finally most kids love sweet potato- it is a great first food, great in the lunch boxes cold and as hot chips at dinner time. A simple way to get some amazing nutrients into kids without too many arguments. Try them in smoothies, juices and soups for a smooth creamy consistency and natural sweetness.
Sweet potatoes are traditionally been baked, roasted or mashed, but they can also be added to risotto, pasta or curry. Here are my recipes;