This spicy, tart and juicy Christmas Kraut is a match made in heaven for your plate, throughout the holiday season.
Traditional Christmas foods are naturally rich in fats, nutrients and, of course, sugar! Many of us will also be enjoying a tipple or two at parties over the coming weeks. Adding a fermented aspect to these meals, this Christmas Kraut may help the body to deal with and digest all these excess foods and drinks. Hopefully lessening the fatigue, bloating, hangovers, sugar highs (and lows) and of course the noxious fumes that generally comes with turkey, sprouts et al.
Perfect on the plate at the main event or served with cheese, this Christmas Kraut will totally change some of your Christmas traditions!! It will certainly be on the menu for me for years to come.
So simple, if you are in a warmish climate you could ferment this in a week and have it ready for your Christmas table this year.
My lovely friend Gemma shared her kid’s favourite snack in my Mama Up-Front Chambers’ Mama. Since then I have been making popcorn for me and the kids. We like ours with a little twist- Cinnamon!
I love Cinnamon because it helps the body to process sugar by helping cells to recognise Insulin when it knocks on the door. This is called insulin sensitivity. You may have heard Insulin resistance surrounding tummy weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is a nutrient that can reverse this. Naturally sweet in itself it can help you to reduce how much sugar you use. It then makes cells more insulin sensitive meaning that the sugar will actually be used rather then allowing it to be re-circulating which increases blood sugar levels. Whenever I use sugar you will almost always see me adding cinnamon.
Cinnamon also boosts the immune system and is a natural bacteria balancer as it also feeds bacteria we need in our body. As an anti-inflammatory it can also help heal some of the potential chronic inflammation which may be present in the body. It is nice and warming and the flavour of cinnamon also helps the palate and taste buds to be satisfied which helps us feel satiated (full up) quicker- thus playing another role in weight balance.
It is also totally delicious! Total winner! It adds a really nice flavour dimension to the popcorn too.
We also love a salty sweet popcorn so I add some pink salt right at the end. This also helps balance the palate and provides some nice nutrients necessary to digest and absorb sugar and the popcorn itself.
It is so important to use organic corn kernels as such a huge portion of corn production is GMO. These foods hugely increase inflammation, especially in the digestive system and have a huge impact on the immune system. Not food in my humble opinion! So definitely not going to nourish my children.
Cinnamon Salty Sweet Popcorn
Salty sweet cinnamon coconut sugar popcorn. Great snack and really delicious.
If you are searching for ingredients in Hong Kong iDetox has a great selection (they sell Cocobono) at good prices- otherwise iherb is the general consensus. Use code WJZ679 for $10USD off your first order, Cocobono Coconut Sugar and Coconut Oil is my favourite source of coconut products (Only available in Hong Kong)
Elderberries are amazing for the immune system. See my Nutrient Fact Sheet here. There is already a well known cough syrup that contains them, this one knocks it out of the park! I have used it for months for my family (kids included), to make Kefir, Gummies and as a cordial with sparkling water. Because this is so concentrated, it will last for ages!
Elderberry Cordial or Cough Syrup
A great way of combining the flavours and nutrient properties of many immune boosting nutrients.
2 T fresh or dried ginger root (ginger powder can also work)
1 tbs cinnamon powder or 1 cinnamon bark stick
1 tbs cloves or 1/2 tsp clove powder
4 Star Anise
Juice of one lemon or orange (optional)
1/2 cup of dried Cherries (optional)
1tbs fresh tumeric root (optional)
1/2-1 cup raw honey (sweeten to taste but raw honey also has immune boosting properties)
Bring the water and Elderberries to the boil in a non reactive saucepan (ie stainless steel). Allow to simmer for 20 mins. Allow to cool slightly. Strain Elderberries through a muslin bag or strainer, squeezing to extract all the juice.
Throw everything else together (except the honey) into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer until the liquid has reduced to half (about 15 mins). I then let the mixture cool with all the bits still in to try and get every bit of goodness!
When it has cooled (it may still be a little warm) strain out the elderberries and roots and spices. Add the honey to the liquid and stir. Pour into a jar or bottle (you will have about 2 cups of liquid- about a litre).
Is great mixed with soda water, in water Kefir as a second ferment, in Gummies or on its own off a spoon when necessary.
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
You can take this daily (1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for kids over 1 and 1 Tbsp for adults) or you can take it when you start to feel run down. Or you can use it to make Kefir or Gummies. You could also add some Vitamin D3/K” like this one to the bottle to really pack a punch (add 10 drops to the liquid to get a small Vitamin D kick when using it.
Here are some other coughs, colds and natural remedy posts;
I have been tinkering around with lots of new flavours of Water Kefir and this, Kumquat, Cranberry and Cinnamon, is my new favourite (after my ginger, lemon and honey water kefir!) I have used bought dried Kumquats in this recipe but they are abundant in the shops at the moment so am also keen to dry my own. I have used my own dried cranberries.
Kumquats are in season in winter and in spring (they are very popular as ornaments at Chinese New Year as they represent gold and are also used as offerings in temples and shrines). As are cranberries. So this recipe for Kumquat, Cranberry and Cinnamon Water Kefir is very seasonal. Kumquats are quite unique from other citrus fruits as they are eaten whole- peel and all. They are extremely tart but still have a degree of sweetness.
Since the whole fruit is eaten the skin’s fibre, oils, phyto-nutrients and antioxidants are present and add to its nutrient value. The anti-oxidants and vitamin C, A and E you would expect from a citrus fruit are also in abundance in Kumquats. Here you can find a table of nutrients contained within the fruit.
See the health benefits of Cranberries here and Cinnamon here
The mix of tart, sweet, sour and spicy make a really refreshing drink with a festive twist.
Ingredients for Kumquat, Cranberry and Cinnamon Water Kefir
1 litre Water Kefir ( I make mine with coconut sugar but it is also nice with Maple Syrup Water Kefir)
4/5 Dried Kumquats
Handful of Dried Cranberries
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon or one rolled cinnamon bark
Because I have used store bought dried Kumquats I have not needed any additional sugar for the second fermentation. I allowed 24 hours for the fermentation (I also prefer to ferment with a covered open vessel but you could do it closed with regualar opening to release excess gas build up. Check out the marketplace for Kefir Grains and vessels
Once it tastes to my liking I strain the fruit (which I save to add to my Green Smoothies). I then store it in the fridge ready to drink.
For many more Kefir and Kombucha recipes and how to make these fermented products please check out my ebook Culture Your Life
Check out all my other Kefir Recipes here
If you love fermenting come and check out my collection of inspiration from around the web. Full of drinks, foods and everything bacteria! Let me know if you would like to be a contributor.
The First time I thought I had something going on within my digestive system was on a School trip to Nepal when I was 17. Along our trail to the Anapurna Base Camp I suddenly was burping a sulfur (bad egg) taste into my mouth and low and behold I was very sick for a day. At 17 on a trip with all your friends this was terrible (I still remember missing out in washing off in the waterfalls as I was lying down in a hut rather than the tents!)
Since then (17 years later) I still get that trademark sulfur ‘burp’ before being sick. It is only ever normally for a day, 2 at the most that I am ever sick and there has never been any real obvious cause. Whilst researching this what has constantly reared its head is Helicobacter Pylori (H-pylori). I have heard of this bacteria and know it is pretty common and is know to be one of the causes for peptic ulcers. Having never had symptoms of this myself and being sick once or twice a year I decided that I would try and heal my digestive system (which does have other symptoms of weakness). Balancing bacteria has always been a big part of this. I now make Kefir and Kombucha which we as a family consume daily and my digestion has taken a huge leap. Also see My Journey with fermentation.
I recently was generously gifted a session on the BioResonance Machine for my birthday. Along with my various digestive symptoms I have also always had a middle band weight gain. I have always held my weight in the middle- even when I was teaching 10 spin classes a week! I have also always had blood sugar issues and am very sugar sensitive. Emotionally I am also very sensitive, have a very short fuse and get distracted easily. When I found out according to the machine that I appear to be sensitive to almost everything- it did not surprise me.
Of course one of the things that came up was good old H-pylori. So what is it and what can I do to finally be rid of its negative effects? 100% naturally.
H-pylori is a bacteria which was discovered in 1982. Unsure as to how it works most believe it is transported into the body through food or water.
It survives in between the mucous membrane lining your digestive system and the stomach lining. In cases of ulcers it allows the mucosal layer to be digested or thinned thus revealing the stomach lining beneath which becomes irritated in the acidic environment and may causes sores or ulcers. It can also cause inflammation thus causing Gastritis symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and burping). It can cause havoc every now and then depending in the external and internal environment of your body. It may thrive in those with low stomach acid, which is why it is also connected with women with severe morning sickness whilst pregnant. It has even now been implied into the rising numbers or Diabetes sufferers. It may even be present in those infants presenting with colic symptoms.
Most individuals who manage to maintain normal stomach acid levels are generally asymptomatic and don’t develop ulcers or gastritis unless they damage their stomach with stress or lifestyle changes (alcohol, smoking, medicinal and recreational drugs, Coffee consumption, oral contraception pill, calcium and magnesium supplementation not in absorb-able forms) Factor believed to aggravate stomach lining and stimulate H. Pylori, thus causing symptoms.
Most people will respond to natural ways of treating this problem. Pharmaceutical medicine will use antibiotics and beta blockers sometimes in their regime. However by employing simple changes to your diet you could also alter the environment it thrives in whilst preserving it in adequate levels to help with its health promoting attributes. Using some simple nutrients;
In particular curcumin (the part that make turmeric yellow). According to a study done in 2005 (source) Turmeric is the most efficient way to kill H-pylori.
“followed by cumin, ginger, chilli, borage (also known as Starflower oil), black caraway, oregano and liquorice. Moreover, extracts of turmeric, borage and parsley were able to inhibit the adhesion of H. pylori strains to the stomach sections.”
especially Cinnamomi Ramulus (the cinnamon trees young twigs as found in TCM (source) The study showed strong antioxidant activity and cell toxicity towards H-pylori and also help adjust stomach acid levels without upsetting and ulcers.
Studies suggest that the fat in coconut oil has an anti-microbial effect on H-pylori;” H. pylori is rapidly inactivated by medium-chain lauric acid esters” (source- pg 8)
Using a cold pressed oil on salads or dressing vegetables (not cooked with)
“phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil had strong antibacterial effects against eight strains of H. pylori, including antibiotic-resistant strains.”.
As found in pineapple. This makes sense as bromalein as an enzyme can help promote gastric juice and balance natural acidic levels in the stomach
Menthol has a strong stimulating action on the digestive system and may causing a small anesthesia of the gastric mucous membrane.This is beneficiary in acute symptoms of gastritis and peptic ulcers. It may also stimulates the bile secretion and helps the digestion of fats also promoting elimination.
In my quest for digestive balance and strength whilst continuing to breastfeed my 1 year old I am oil pulling with coconut oil, using Kefir and Kombucha in a daily basis, including turmeric in my ginger and peppermint teas, foods and increasing other nutrients such as cinnamon, oregano, chili and cumin. I am also using homeopathy, massively reducing sugar and grains for a few weeks, eliminating eggs, gluten and dairy and having further treatment on the BioResonance machine. See the coming weeks for my other parasite and bacteria I am tackling on my quest (including candida)