Fermenting is a fantastic way to preserve food and it’s also beneficial for our health, specifically our digestion and gut. People all over the world have been fermenting food for thousands of years. Pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, miso – there’s a whole world of fermented foods out there.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF FERMENTING?

Fermented dishes like kimchi and sauerkraut are a natural source of probiotic bacteria. These are living bacteria that are commonly known to aid gut health, and are often referred to as ‘friendly bacteria’.

Probiotics are thought to help restore the natural balance in our gut, especially after a course of antibiotics, which can often disrupt our gut microbiota, and to help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), to aid digestion and to improve our immune response.

HOW TO MAKE SAUERKRAUT

Super-cheap and easy to make in bulk, the key ingredient to a good sauerkraut is time. In a warm climate, sauerkraut will ferment quicker than a cold one, so bear this in mind. The longer you leave the cabbage fermenting the stronger it will become.

Homemade sauerkraut
2 medium cabbages, washed
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

METHOD
1. Start by sterilising your jar/jars to keep the sauerkraut in.
2. Remove any tatty outer leaves and cut the cabbages in half. Remove and discard the core and shred the leaves into thin slices.
3. Place into a large bowl with the salt. Toss and massage together for five minutes. Leave to rest for five minutes then repeat the process. You will notice a lot of liquid has appeared and the cabbage has diminished in size and become soft.
4. Pack the cabbage tightly into the sterilised jars (add any extra flavours here in layers), pour over the liquid and seal lightly with the lid. Leave at room temperature for at least a month before opening and enjoying this crunchy, sour condiment.
N.B Check on the sauerkraut every once in awhile, releasing any gases.

More: How to make kimchi.

WHY NOT TRY…
Adding extra flavours to your sauerkraut can take it to another level. Have a go with these combos:

  • Caraway seeds, black peppercorns and dill
  • Fennel seeds and lemon peel
  • Carrot and juniper berries