Benefits of Fermentation & DIY Sauerkraut
Fermentation is the culturing or natural souring of various foods with the intentional growth of healthy bacteria, yeast, fungi or mold. It’s a time-honored method that allows foods to stay edible longer. For most of recorded history, fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats had no “shelf life” unless they were put through a fermentation process.
However, preservation of vegetables and fruits by the process of fermentation has numerous advantages beyond those of simple preservation.
Cultured and fermented dairy and vegetable products such as yogurt or kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and Asian-centric miso, tempeh, natto, soy sauce, and kimchi, and the ever-popular kombucha (fermented tea), have been used for centuries for their health-supporting effects.†
Beneficial microorganisms found in fermented foods and beverages can be thought of as “agents of transformation.”
The process of lacto-fermentation literally transforms the sugars and starches in the food into lactic acid, and can provide the following health-promoting benefits:†
• Supports a healthy microbial balance†
• Digestive support and nutrient absorption support†
• Helps preserve food and supports the creation of important enzymes
• Helps support the flavor and nutritional value of food
• Supports healthy immune system function†
• Supports foods’ natural increase of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids
DIY Fermentation at Home: Sauerkraut
If you’d like to witness the transformative process of fermentation, culturing your own veggies at home is really quite simple. Many people like to begin with sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut combines one of the healthiest foods there is (cabbage) with one of the most beneficial and time-honored food preparation methods ever used (in this case, lacto-fermentation).
It is important to use quality vegetables, (organic is preferred), sea salt and filtered or purified water for lacto-fermentation. The beneficial microorganisms, Lactobacilli, rely on an abundance of nutrients for the fermentation process to work its “transforming magic.” (If the ingredients are not of high quality, the end product may suffer.)
Follow these easy steps to make your own sauerkraut at home:
1. Clean one head of cabbage and chop it into small pieces.
2. Add some salt to the pieces to make sure the cabbage is covered as evenly as possible.
3. Place the mixture into a quart-sized glass jar filled with filtered water, and be sure the lid is closed tightly.
4. Let the transformation begin! After a few days, your sauerkraut will be ready. However, the longer the cabbage is able to ferment, around 6 months usually, the more beneficial the end product becomes.
Here’s to the transformational power of fermentation and DIY fermentation. Enjoy!
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