Lost is the art of fermentation. This skill of the past is an amazing way to improve the digestibility of your food as well as increase the shelf life or storability of foods. Fermentation makes use of micro-organisms to break down cellulose and anti nutrient factors to enhance assimilation and absorbtion of nurtients. It literally makes your food come alive and helps to replenish the naturally occuring bateria in our guts ecology. This plays a key role in regulating immune function.
In ayurveda fermented foods are used to treat bowel problems including constipation, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and also can be helpful in preventing ulcers.
Yes I realize leaving food out on the counter to literally start growing seems risky with concerns around botulism. But don’t fret the good bacteria will far out perform the bad bacteria leaving fermented foods tasty and ready to eat. Although if your final product smells like a rotting, stinky, spoiled slop of mixed mushy veg then there is a good chance your batch has spoiled. It would be a crime against wisdom to eat it.
I’ll include the most ridiculously simple sauerkraut recipe that is a staple in my kitchen and fridge.
1 large head of organic cabbage
1 large organic red onion
3 medium organic carrots
2 tablespoons of course sea salt
anything else you fancy (I never measure, I always throw in different veggies and or spices to see what happens)
Chop or food process everything up into a fairly fine slaw (not that important chunks are fine). Mix in the sea salt and combine/toss everything together. Let sit for 15 min so salt starts to pull out water from vegetables. Stuff into large glass gars so much that the extracted juices and water rise above the compacted mixed slaw. Place some whole cabbage leaves on the top just to keep loose pieces down. I usually place a jar or weight on top as to keep everything under the juices. Let sit in a cool place (my counter in winter/my basement in summer) for 1 week from crunchy sauerkraut or 2 weeks for more tangy and slightly softer sauerkraut. Keeps in fridge for up to 3 months.!! Enjoy!! Pics Below!!!
Try it cooked lightly in ghee with cumin seeds for a tasty addition to any meal.