Kraut

Three Easy Ways to Add Fermented Foods to Your Daily Diet and a Basic Kraut Recipe

You have probably heard that fermented foods like kraut (sauerkraut) are full of probiotics and that probiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut or microbiome. Now the question is how to get them into your daily routine so that they become a habit. You are much more likely to eat fermented foods if they are on hand all the time, of course. One easy way to assure that this is so is to make your own. Most fermented foods are truly simple to make and do not require a lot of time. I usually do it while I am in the kitchen making dinner anyway. See the bottom of the post for a basic recipe for Kraut that you can change up however you like. 

      1. Breakfast: You’ve heard me say this before. Start your day with kefir (water or milk) mixed into a smoothie (or a “shake” as my kids call it). We have this in addition to our breakfast. 
      2. Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches: Top your finished soup with veggie ferments (kraut and kimchi work well). Just be sure to let your soup cool for a minute or two so that you don’t kill the beneficial bacteria with the heat. You can also add veggie ferments to your salads. Radishes, beets, jicama, and carrots are my favorites). Add veggie ferments to your sandwiches. Pickles come to mind, of course
      3. Snack Time: Make fermented foods your snack We like to make homemade ranch dressing with homemade yogurt, and homeade kombucha mayo. The we dip raw veggies like carrot sticks and sugar snap peas for a healthy snack. Another favorite snack is homemade yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of lemon curd.  
      4. Bonus: Add a glass of kombucha or water kefir lemonade to your daily routine! So simple to do and so delicious.

Veggie Ferments

Basic Kraut Recipe

Kraut Close Up

      • One large head cabbage (or 2 small)
      • 2.5 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
      • Filtered Water
      • Optional: Spices: one Tablespoon caraway or juniper berries (Caraway is my favorite.)
      • Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized (3 or 4)
      • Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
      • Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)

Shredded cabbage for Kraut

 

      1. First, take off the first couple of layers of cabbage. Then shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife because I like crunchy kraut, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor. Do not use the core. 
      2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
      3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
      4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and “work” it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes. (You can do this with a wooden or stainless steel mallet as well.)
      5. Now mix in the spices if you are using them. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablespoon of caraway seeds.
      6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt (and spice) mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation. Top with a fermentation weight to keep your cabbage submerged in brine. (Or you could use the cabbage core or a sterilized rock.) Keeping the cabbage submerged is crucial to not developing mold!
      7. Screw on your airlock lids or regular lids. The airlocks are optional, but they really do help protect your ferment. 
      8. Let it set out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks. 
         
Basic Kraut Recipe
Basic Sauerkraut is so easy to make!!
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. One large head cabbage
  2. 3 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
  3. Filtered Water
  4. Spices: Some common choices are caraway or juniper berries (optional)
  5. Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized
  6. Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
  7. Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
Instructions
  1. First, Shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor.
  2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
  3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
  4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and "work" it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes.
  5. Now add the spices if you are going to. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablspoon of caraway seeds.
  6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation.
  7. Let it sit out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
    1.  Do you make your own kraut? What are your tricks for getting fermented foods into your daily diet?

 

Kraut

Veggie Ferments

 

 

buckwheat sourdough starter

How to Make and Maintain a Buckwheat Sourdough Starter (Gluten-free)

Why Sourdough?

Using a sourdough starter allows you to bake without using commercial yeast. This is good because most commercial yeasts are genetically modified. If that isn’t enough to make you want to avoid them, many people unknowingly react to commercial yeasts. Also, the process of fermenting the buckwheat (or any grain or seed) releases it’s phytates. This makes the vitamins and minerals in the fermented grain much more bio-available (ready for your body to use). Using a buckwheat sourdough starter gives you a nutritious as well as tasty way to make gluten-free, grain-free breads, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, and many other treats.

Starting with an established starter

I looked all over for an established buckwheat sourdough starter, but I could not find one. For the past few years, I have used an established wheat starter (all-purpose) that I bought from Cultures for Health. I still use it as well as a whole wheat version that is also from them. An established starter gives you the most predictability with your baked goods, right out of the gate. I ended up deciding to buy an established gluten-free sourdough starter that had been made with brown rice and training it to “eat” buckwheat instead. I am so happy with the results!

Eating Seasonally

While I love both of my wheat starters, we are trying to eat seasonally as much as possible. Wheat is more a fall/winter grain, so during the spring months we are using the buckwheat sourdough starter I made. If you would like a handy list about what to eat each season, John Doulliard, an Ayurvedic physician, has a great one! He also has a great book called Eat Wheat if you have been talked into going wheat-free but are not Celiac or severely gluten intolerant.

Why Buckwheat?

Buckwheat is not related to wheat at all. It is actually a seed related to rhubarb that:

  • is loaded with magnesium (which most of us are deficient in). 
  • is a good source of potassium, iron, and B vitamins
  • has more protein than any of the grains traditionally consumed in the SAD (Standard American Diet), such as wheat, rice, or corn.
  • contains the essential amino acids lysine and arginine. 
  • contains a fair amount of resistant starch (Source). Resistant starch (also known as prebiotics) feeds the probiotics in your microbiome but doesn’t feed the bad bugs hanging out in there. Getting resistant starch is as important, if not more important, as getting probiotics!

My favorite Buckwheat flour is Acadian Buckwheat. It has a much lighter texture than other Buckwheat flours. I either use this type, or I grind my own in the grain-grinding container of my high-powered blender. I first read about it in an excellent gluten-free baking book called Against the Grain. This is an excellent book if you are Celiac, gluten-intolerant, or would just like to start eating seasonally. This will allow you to have some good wheat-free versions of some of your favorite items for the summer months. It has a much lighter texture than other Buckwheat flours. I either use this, or I grind my own in the grain-grinding container of my high powered blender.

How to make a Buckwheat Sourdough Starter

You will need to either purchase an established gluten-free starter or get one from a friend. It is not recommended to train a gluten-containing starter to eat a non-gluten containing grain or seed.

buckwheat sourdough starter

  1. If you are using a purchased starter, follow the directions on the box until it is bubbling reliably within a few hours of feeding. If you are using a gluten-free starter from a friend, also make sure that it bubbles reliably within a few hours of being fed. Once this happens, you can start training it to use buckwheat flour instead of brown rice four. In order to be on the safe side, always save some of your starter discard in case your starter doesn’t take to the new flour or there is some other unforeseen disaster. (Something like accidentally dumping it into some milk you are using to make cottage cheese thinking that it is milk kefir. On that note, I can’t underestimate the importance of labeling. You think that you will remember what that jar contains, and maybe you will…or maybe you won’t. 😉
  2. I started with half buckwheat flour and half brown rice flour. I fed it two times and both times it bubbled right on schedule a few hours after being fed. I then went to 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour plus one tablespoon of rice flour for two feedings. Again, it bubbled on schedule reliably so I was able to just go to straight buckwheat flour and voila! Now I have a buckwheat sourdough starter that has endless uses!  
    Buckwheat Sourdough Starter
    A gluten-free sourdough starter for making breads, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, and other tasty treats.
    Print
    Prep Time
    5 min
    Prep Time
    5 min
    Ingredients
    1. Brown Rice Four
    2. Buckwheat flour (here is my favorite)
    3. Gluten-free sourdough starter culture (brown rice)
    4. Filtered water
    Instructions
    1. If you are using a starter, follow the directions on the box. If you are using a gluten-free starter from a friend, make sure that it bubbles reliable within a few hours of being fed.
    2. Once your starter is bubbling reliably, you can start training it to use buckwheat flour instead of brown rice four. In order to be on the safe side, always save some of your starter discard in case your starter doesn't take to the new flour or there is some other unforeseen disaster. I started with half buckwheat flour and half brown rice flour. I fed it two times and both times it bubbled right on schedule a few hours after being fed. I then went to 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour plus one Tablespoon of rice flour for two feedings. Again, it bubbled on schedule reliably so I was able to just go to straight buckwheat flour and Voila! Now I have a buckwheat sourdough starter that has endless uses!
    Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

     Do you bake with buckwheat? Have you tried making a buckwheat sourdough starter?

kraut juice and glass

Kraut Juice: A Probiotic-filled Beverage.

What is Kraut juice?

Jar of Kraut Juice Fermenting
Kraut Juice

Kraut juice is probably the cheapest and most probiotic-packed beverage that you can make for yourself at home. It only takes a few minutes, and it is a great way to get started making fermented foods. We drink this regularly at our house and we also give it away any time our friends or neighbors have tummy bugs. The probiotics help tip the balance in favor of the “good guys” in your belly. It isn’t always easy to eat when you are sick, but it is important to stay hydrated. Just sip on it throughout the day until you start to feel better. It works great!

Cabbage Nutrition Facts

Cabbage has more vitamin C per serving than an orange. (Which is great for those suffering from adrenal fatigue. Here is an interesting post from Mommypotomus with a test to see you if have it.) Also, the vitamins and minerals in cabbage become more bio-available (your body can absorb them) as the cabbage ferments. The end result is a beverage that is easy to make, has more probiotics than your probiotic supplement, and is packed with bio-available vitamins and minerals to keep your body running as it should.

Kraut juice fermenting and glass of kraut juice

Kraut  and kraut juice lower inflammation. As you have probably heard by now, inflammation is the root of most diseases. Why let it stick around? Go here for an interesting post from Dr. Axe to learn about how inflammation causes disease and what you can do to stop it.

My kids drink this straight and enjoy it, but if your kids (young or old) aren’t big fans of the mildly tart taste, you could mix it with some juice.

If you have been meaning to try some fermenting at home, this is a great recipe for getting your feet wet. Happy fermenting!

 

Kraut Juice
Yields 3
A fermented beveraged that is loaded with probiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. One head green cabbage
  2. 6 Tablespoons sea salt ( I use Celtic)
  3. Filtered water
Instructions
  1. Shred the head of cabbage. You can do this with a knife or use the grater blade on your food processor to do this.
  2. Put the shredded cabbage into a glass or stainless steel bowl, add the salt, and stir. Walk away and do another kitchen project or go relax with a book.
  3. After about 20 minutes, the cabbage should have wilted a bit and released some juice.
  4. Fill jars about 1/3 to 1/2 full with cabbage and released juices. I use half gallon mason jars for this, but you could use any size jars. Fill the jars the rest of the way with filtered water, but leave an inch or inch and a half to allow for expansion. Cap your jars with plastic lids, airlocks, or just the regular mason jar lids.
  5. Store in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks and up to 4 months.
  6. Move to the refrigerator and enjoy! Take anytime you feel a bug coming on.
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

 

Have you ever tried kraut juice? If so, did you make it yourself? If not, are you going to give it a try?