|Ancient Foods Help Immune System|
If you haven't added fermented foods to your diet-take time to learn about their amazing ability to improve your digestive system. Because 80% of your immune system starts in your gut, it is an effective way to keep your immune system optimally functioning.
Probiotics, especially in yogurt and kefir, have become popular in advertising media....but most of those will actually have limited amounts of good bacteria because they have been processed and pasteurized. Use them when you are traveling or you are in between your own potent homemade supply.
You will discover just like generations before us, that fermented foods are very easy to make and use. Of course, wine has a history over 8000 years old, while fermented bread was used in Egypt (the soldiers were paid in bread) and fermented milk surfaced in Babylon. Today, you have probably heard about kimchee, natto, and soy sauce from the Japanese. Kumis (fermented mare milk), kefir, and shubat (fermented camel milk) came from Central Asia. The Masai of Africa have several types of fermented milk and clotted steer's blood. India and the Middle East produced yogurt, and pickled vegetables, while Central Europe contributed sauerkraut, cream fraiche and rakfisk (salted, fermented trout). My personal favorite is fermented chocolate from Central America, a drink reserved for royalty who perpetuated the legend that it brought them closer to the gods. Kombucha is another fermented food available in many flavors.
The easiest recipes to make yourself start with cabbage or cucumbers-they have natural bacteria for the fermentation process. The process of lactic acid fermentation used to transform salt and cabbage into sauerkraut increases vitamin C by around 20%. It also improves B vitamins, and food enzymes. The beneficial bacteria help to repopulate a toxic gut, train the immune system and manufacture vitamins in the digestive tract.
Other recipes entail a little more preparation or purchasing a started culture. Many recipes are online for perpetual fermented vegetables...a dish you keep adding vegetables to. Here is a beginning recipe. Hopefully you will want to try fermented juices, vegetable mixes and dairy.
Easy Fermented Sauerkraut
1 head cabbage-finely sliced
1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt
- Toss cabbage and salt together in a large mixing bowl and begin to squeeze the cabbage and salt together with your hands, kneading it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the shredded cabbage.
- When the cabbage has become limp and released its juice, transfer it to a sauerkraut crock or vegetable fermenter. Pack the salted cabbage into the crock or fermenter as tightly as you can, eliminating air bubbles. Place a ceramic plate or lid on top of the mixture as needed to weigh the cabbage down and prevent exposure to air that can cause contamination.
- Cover loosely and allow it to sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for at least seven days and up to three or four weeks, testing the sauerkraut every few days until it is done to your liking. Transfer to the refrigerator or other cold storage where it should keep for at least six months.
TIME: 20 minutes (active), 1 to 4 weeks (fermentation) | YIELD: about 1 quarts