Dating back between 6000-4000 B.C. lacto-fermented foods have been an important part of diets within many cultures. The first recorded lacto-fermented foods were located within North East Africa and the Mediterranean region — dairy, teff, olives and root vegetables were among these foods. The beauty found in this preparation style is the biochemical change that occurs in slow fermentation. Fermenting of dairy lowers lactose and increases protein digestibility. Soy is easier to digest when fermented; olives are simply more palatable. Cabbage, often a main ingredient used in sauerkraut and kimchi, is a cruciferous vegetable that is tough to digest, making it durable for a slow-ferment recipe. Hard-to-digest foods, and indigestion from certain foods, means that it’s less likely you’re absorbing the nutrients available in a food. The neat thing foods like cheese, yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, injera and sauerkraut, to name a few, is that their nutrients are made more available with fermentation. Here’s a delicious recipe from Nourished Kitchen so you can try making kraut at home!
|HOT PINK JALAPENO GARLIC KRAUT||
- 3½ pounds red cabbage, (shredded)
- 3 cloves garlic, (minced)
- 4 medium jalapeno peppers, (sliced thin)
- 1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt
- Wearing gloves to protect your hands from the volatile oils in the peppers, toss the cabbage, garlic, jalapenos and sea salt into a large mixing bowl. Knead the vegetables together by hand for 5 minutes until they begin to release their juices. Allow the shredded vegetables to rest a further 5 minutes, then return for 5 more minutes of kneading.
- Layer the salted vegetables into a quart-sized fermentation jar or crock (find a crock online), and pack tightly until the brine created by the vegetable juice and salt completely submerges the shredded cabbage and peppers. Weigh down the vegetables with a glass weight sterilized stone or other heavy item small enough to fit within your crock, close and ferment at room temperature.
- Taste after about 3 weeks and continue to ferment if the sauerkraut hasn’t achieved the level of tartness you prefer. Transfer to cold storage when sour enough for your liking and use within 9 months.