ello ello ello!
Well it has been a while hasn’t it… It seems life took over a little bit.
Since January my life has kinda been turned upside down, inside out, done some cartwheels and now is back on track. So much so that I am now sat in a beautiful new home in East London, which I share with my lovely lovely new housemates, I have completed and passed my first year of my course (with flying colours may I add), I am training for a half marathon and I am also now a single lady. So fair to say a chaotic 8 months.
In the midst of all the mayhem, my cooking and my nourishing myself has had to take a back seat. It hasn’t been completely forgotten – I promise! But it has been marginally neglected and maybe at times replaced for copious amounts of wine and gin?!
So this evening I have got in from a 7k run (my best to date – woohoo!) I made myself a delicious tuna bean salad, I am sat with a rosehip tea and I finally feel like I am ready to write again. It takes a lot of strength to sit and write my thoughts and feelings to be read freely by all, even if they most probably will only be read by my dad (seeing as he is my biggest fan)! But I feel like my love for food and health and all things sexy and smelly like that is now more important than watching crap TV (as fun as that is)!
So talking of sexy smelly things… (you’re probably wondering where this is going) a couple of weeks ago I visited a wonderful beautiful inspirational friend Ella. I stayed at her apartment with her lovely man for 4 nights. Now… me and Ella both share a passion for nutrition and health. We can have 2 hour skype chats about seed cycling and fermentation. So I think we both thought we were in for 4 days of zen time, yoga time and experimenting in the cooking time. Well, think again. Take two health nerds and put them together and what do you get? Sweet, sweet rebellion! We had the most wonderful time drinking lots of red wine, eating lots of french baguettes and dancing to lots of Bollywood youtube videos. It was the best 4 days of the summer!
BUT we are still health nerds at heart and we ended up experimenting with some cabbage fermentation to make the wonderful, eastern European dish sauerkraut! We tenderly massaged our shredded cabbage and squeezed out all the natural juices until it was ready to season, flavour and jar up!
massaging the cabbage
So I managed to ship 2 of these jars home with me on the Eurostar back to East London as my Parisian souvenir and now they are sitting at the top of my tea cupboard, gracing my housemates with the whiff of fermenting cabbage every time they go for a cuppa.
All jokes aside, the beauty of the fermenting smelly cabbage is the probiotic health gem it creates. I have found this article here in the guardian all about why Sauerkraut is so great for you! Eating fermented foods like Sauerkraut and Kefir really play with the mind set of avoiding bacteria that we have grown up with. The culture of anti-bac wipes and anti-bac everything is destroying all the good bacterias too and breaking down our immune systems as they arent having to be strong for us against anything foreign as we are superically removing it all!
So the body actually does need the good bacteria, it keeps the digestive system and intestines happy, alert and full of energy. “An adult is supposed to have around two to five pounds (1.0 to 2.26 kilograms) of live bacteria inside their body”. This bacteria can be killed off by many things we come across in every day life e.g. alcohol, anti-biotics, chlorinated water… leading to weaker immune systems, leaky gut and bacterial infections like candida. Basically by removing the good bacteria that looks after us we upset the balance which enables our body to defend itself and keep us fit and healthy and full of energy.
Fun fact: When we take antibiotics it takes about 6 months for the friendly bacteria to return to normal strength!
So this is why eating fermented cabbage (Sauerkraut) is great!
We used Earth Sprouts recipe as a basis which used red cabbage so we had lots of fun with stained purple hands afterwards (and stained kitchen table and stained kitchen floor etc!).
We also found a few other recipes like Holistic Squid just to get an idea of flavours we could add in! The only slight problem we had was we put in 4 tablespoons of salt instead of 4 teaspoons!!! SO we added about 4 organic carrots grated to try and absorb some of the salty juice.
Makes 4 cups purple sauerkraut
8 cups shredded purple cabbage (save two large leaves)
4/5 large carrots grated
3 cloves of garlic sliced or minces
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 tsp top quality salt like Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt
- Remove core from head of cabbage.
- Shred cabbage into thin ribbons with a knife
- Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle salt
- Knead/squeeze the shredded cabbage. Get into it! You are breaking the cabbage down and helping it to release its juices.
- Add in the garlic, seeds and any other flavouring
- Add this soupy cabbage mixture to your fermentation vessel and press the cabbage down firmly. Really pack it in there. The mixture should be 1 inch from the lid of your jar and should be covered at the top with the beautiful brine you have made. Remember my Fermented Veggie Mantra: “Below the Brine is Fine.”
- Screw the lid on tight. (Plastic lids will allow for expansion with greater ease than metal lids.
- Place your jar of culturing cabbage on a plate (to catch any brine that may be pushed out) and leave in a room temperature (70-85F) place for at least 2 weeks or until the kraut tastes tart but remains crisp. When it’s finished fermenting, wipe off your jar and put it in the refrigerator.
My only problem is I am not sure how long the Sauerkraut needs to ferment and when it is fermented enough. Plus I am starting to enjoy the faces my housemates are pulling when they go to have a cup of tea 😉