Fermented foods such as sauerkraut are a vital element in improving intestinal health by encouraging the growth of organisms that increase nutrient absorption. What is more, cabbage contains compounds that promote colon and breast health, and has antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Once prepared, sauerkraut contains higher levels of vitamin C than fresh cabbage.
FOR THE SAUERKRAUT
- 2 medium white cabbages,
- 2 tbsp salt.
FOR THE SALAD
- 13⁄4oz (50g) alfalfa sprouts, washed,
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced,
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seed oil,
- freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 2 servings
- To make the sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), finely shred the cabbage in a food processor, pack into a bowl, sprinkle with salt, mix well, and leave for half an hour.
- Pound the cabbage with the end of a rolling pin until the juices start flowing. Put the salted cabbage into a sterilized glass jar, adding a handful at the time and pounding it down in the jar with the end of a rolling pin each time so that no air is left between the added layers (“beating in” is key to the success of this process). Firmly compress the layers of cabbage, leaving some space at the top of the jar for the cabbage to expand (the juices may also overflow).
- Put the jar on a plate, cover with a saucer as wide as the neck of the jar, and store in a well-ventilated cool, but not cold, place. Check the jar and remove any residue from the top regularly. After one week, the cabbage will have fermented enough to be eaten, and should keep for at least two weeks if stored in the fridge.
- To make the salad, combine 1 cup of the sauerkraut with the rest of the ingredients in a salad bowl and season to taste.
NOTE: Of course, you can buy ready-made sauerkraut, but it’s usually sterilized and your homemade version will definitely have a better taste. The ideal temperature for fermentation is 68–72°F (20–22°C). Fermentation will stop and the cabbage will spoil above 76°F (24°C) or below 55°F (13°C). If your sauerkraut develops a pinkish hue on its surface, turns dark, or is very soft and mushy, it hasn’t fermented properly and shouldn’t be eaten.