Nature already gave us all the solutions to keep us healthy, but we’ve discarded it for pills, tablets and other “medications”. That’s not our fault, we’ve been told that it’s better. But better for who? I’m not saying that all the medications are bad, because some of them are saving lives. But looks like instead of improving people’s health they just keep them (barely) alive. And I don’t want to start debating about pharmaceutical business, because I’m sure it’s already a common knowledge, that the most important for pharmaceutical business is their own business.
So we need to deal with our health problems by ourselves. And it’s not easy (taking a pill is much easier, but does it work better?) and takes time and knowledge. But it’s our health, our bodies and our life, if we’re not going to care about it who is going to?
We are used to being more reactive than proactive – means we usually start looking for help when it’s already really bad, and we need a quick fix (that’s why pharmaceutical business is going really good). We ignore small symptoms, forgetting that “prevention is better than the cure”.
Wouldn’t it be great to become independent from pills, drugs, vaccines? As I said, I believe that nature has already provide us with necessary compounds to keep us strong and healthy. So maybe if we try to come back to nature, and start to boost our immunity and make our bodies stronger, we stop being fated with big pharma.
You won’t find better time to start than now. In this uncertain time, when they scare us with the virus, like they forgot that everyday millions of people die with common flu, diabetes, strokes, cancer and other modern diseases.
So if you would like to start improving your health and boost your immunity, you can start with cabbage juice – one of the most underrated superfoods.
Here’s the recipe. If you would like to read some more information from the researches that has been done around this topic scroll down.
- naturally grown white cabbage
- filtered water (I use ozonated water)
- natural rock salt or Himalayan salt
You’ll also need:
- few 1l glass jars with lids
- large pot
- wooden spoon
CABBAGE – the best is late season (winter) cabbage. Should be more white than green in color, quite hard, healthy, with no signs of mold or vermin. Green leaf cabbage with loose leaves, has low sugar content and won’t ferment properly. Try to find a good source of cabbage, preferably organic or from local farmers. I’ve tried to make sauerkraut from supermarket cabbage but didn’t work. I always buy from polish shop, few days ago I bout one from the local farmers shop, but didn’t try it yet.
WATER – I use ozonated water, you can use any kind of filtered water, free from chlorine, fluoride and other stuff, that can be found in tap water. Boiled water in room temperature will be fine as well.
SALT – also extremely important – don’t use supermarket salt with anti-caking agent (which is a synthetic mixture of sodium, aluminium and silicon oxides), it’s deprived of the essential trace minerals. Use natural rock salt or Himalayan salt instead. Salt will help to extract the juice from the cabbage and prevent from going bad.
PROPORTIONS – for about 1kg of cabbage, use about 20g of salt (about one tbsp). Because we’re making sauerkraut juice not a sauerkraut, we will be adding much more water, so I use my common sense and just add more or less salt.
JARS – glass jars are the most available for everyone and they are easy to store. Make sure they are perfectly clean, you can scald them out with boiling water. To make juice from one quite big cabbage (I would say about 2 – 2,5kg) I need 9 glass jars. Everything depends how liquidy you’ll make it. Don’t use any metal, aluminium or plastic containers, because acid from the sauerkraut will go in reaction with these materials.
Shred the cabbage, bits don’t need to be very small, just to make it easier to blend. Now depending of how big is your pot, place part of shredded cabbage in the pot. Pour the water, so it covers all cabbage. Then blend it using hand blender. Because of blending process, you’ll get some foam on top. I take it off with a spoon if it’s quite a lot. Add rock salt and stir, as I said I do it using my common sense. Pour the mixture to the jars leaving about two inches room. Gases that will develop during fermentation will push the cabbage up. Leaving some room will prevent from spilling all over. Do the same with the rest of cabbage. Cover all the jars with lids and place in dark and warm temperature (room temperature is fine).
And now very important – for first 3-4 days you need to stir in every jar with a wooden spoon. It’s not a magic trick, it’s because if you won’t stir cabbage that’s going up above the surface of water will start to mold. So it’s so important to stir it everyday (you can do it twice a day, but usually once is OK), so the cabbage is constantly soaked in water. Expect distinctive smell that it will start to develop – it’s normal. Have a sniff, all the jars should have the same smell. If you feel that one of them is obviously stinky and smell different than the others it’s better to bin it. If you never ate sauerkraut, they all might smell stinky for you, but I mean this kind of stinky when something is off and moldy. And the second thing – mold. There should be no mold on top of the cabbage. If you see pinkish mold on top – you have to bin it. So for the first few days cabbage will be on top of the jar, and water on the bottom. When the sauerkraut will be ready, cabbage will be on the bottom and water on top. Depending of your storage temperature it will take a week up to ten days, maybe two weeks.
Now the taste, homemade sauerkraut juice is less sour than the sauerkraut bought in the shop. Longer you’ll keep it in warm temperature more sour it will get. So if you want to stop fermentation process just put it to the fridge.
Drink one cup everyday. Do not overdose, at the beginning when your body is not used to, you might get diarrhea. If you do, just take less. Start with 1-2 tablespoons a day. Than increase to one cup.
HOW COME SAUERKRAUT IS SO GOOD FOR US?
Fermented cabbage is not a modern invention, it actually have a long story in many cultures, starting from the Roman age. Although “sauerkraut” is a German word, the dish did not originate in Germany. Some claim that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought it to Europe. Others claim that it originally came from China (means not only the bad things come from China).
English name is borrowed from German language, the rest of central and eastern European countries has their own names. Anyway before frozen foods, refrigeration, and cheap transport, sauerkraut – like other preserved foods – provided a source of nutrients during the winter.
So looks like people used to ate a lot of fermented foods (not only cabbage), but it seems logic. Imagine the times, when hygiene wasn’t so obvious as now, I mean personal hygiene and all over hygiene. People had to have fairly good immune system to fight all this bacteria, mold, fungus and hell know what else. And fermented foods help them very well.
I will quote some of the modern conclusions from the researches that has been done in this topic.
“According to the Statista Statistic Portal, global probiotic sales are expected to jump from $25 billion in 2011 to $42 billion in 2016. This statistic shows that consumers are paying for these probiotics that are man-made in a lab and sold for a profit. There is nothing wrong with supplementation because there are many proven and effective probiotics, but the option of using fermented foods may be more efficient. The argument for sauerkraut (and other fermented foods) is that the families of strains that naturally culture together in fermented sauerkraut are more beneficial than the isolated strains found in supplements. In other words, probiotic therapy is based on the belief that certain strains are vital for our health, which leads to people going out and buying these isolated supplements. In reality, some research shows the genetic fluidity of bacteria suggests that variety and diversity may be more beneficial than specific strains. In addition to the beneficial bacteria they produce, fermented foods also supply nutrition that no other sources can provide.*
Can the natural probiotics found in sauerkraut be as beneficial as other options? Here’s what they concluded:
“Initially, the research was going to compare store bought, shelf stable sauerkraut to homemade sauerkraut. After experimentation, it was concluded that store bought, shelf stable sauerkraut had little to no bacteria due to pasteurization and processing. An important note is that each trial was conducted on a different batch of sauerkraut. (…) The results conclude that homemade sauerkraut can supply an efficient amount of LAB to promote health benefits in small (2 tbsp.) and large (1 cup) serving sizes. Sauerkraut belongs to a rare category of foods which not only provide probiotics, but also nutrients of the cabbage in a more digestible state. The aim of the study was to culture and count strictly the LAB in sauerkraut, but it is expected that sauerkraut can be home to more microorganism species than which is currently known.*
“Sauerkraut could possibly be one of most underrated superfoods. Sauerkraut is a name given to the end product of fermenting cabbage. One of the reasons sauerkraut is considered a superfood is because the fermentation makes all of the nutrients of the food more bioavailable than in its raw form. This means that all the vitamins, mineral, and phytonutrients that cabbage offers could become more bioavailable after fermentation. become more bioavailable after fermentation. For example, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride states in her book “The amount of bioavailable vitamin C in sauerkraut is 20 times higher than in the same serving as raw cabbage”. In addition to increased bioavailability, what really sets sauerkraut apart from most foods is its probiotic content. The main reason sauerkraut is a wonderful food is because it is full of probiotics. Probiotics are defined as living organisms which upon ingestion in certain numbers confer health benefits upon the host. (…) human gut (and all of the bacteria involved) can have on human health. The microbiota plays a major role in health and disease in humans and it is sometimes referred to as our “forgotten organ”. Even more importantly, the gut microbiota interacts with the immune system by providing signals to promote the maturation of immune cells and the normal development of immune functions.” *
From some other studies: “Sauerkraut (homemade and shop-bought) has been shown, through culture-dependent techniques, to contain Bifidobacterium dentium, Enterococcus faecalis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Lactobacillus sakei, Lactobacillus curvatus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Weissella confusa, Lactococcus lactis and Enterobacteriaceae.” **
“One of the most significant groups of probiotic organisms are the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) which were observed further in this study. Lactic Acid bacteria have established benefits such as the treatment of diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and infections such as urogenital, urinary and candida. LAB have also been shown to enhance immune system function to help prevent various illnesses and promote lactose digestion. Some studies even show that these bacteria could even prevent certain cancers. While nearly all research confines LAB to dairy products like yogurt, sauerkraut stands out as a vegetable that also produces LAB. Unlike yogurt, a starter culture is not needed for sauerkraut because the cabbages grown in healthy soil have all the bacteria they need to start fermentation. All that is added is salt which inhibits the growth of undesirable microorganisms but favors the growth of desired bacteria.”*
“when it comes to sauerkraut, original studies dating back 1969 only found four strains of LAB. A more recent study done in 2009 (with technique and technology advances), concluded that 15 strains of LAB with high conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)-producing ability were isolated from sauerkraut. It should also be noted that within different stages of fermentation, there will be different organisms present. There is no definite identity or count on the LAB in sauerkraut.”*
And next one: “Certain lactic acid bacteria contained in sauerkraut generate conjugated linoleic acid for which there is evidence of anti-carcinogenic and anti-atherosclerotic activity in animals.**Anti-cancer effects of lactic acid bacteria: Several research studies confirm the ability of lactic acid bacte-ria to reduce the mutagenicity of intestinal contents by suppressing the levels of specific bacterial enzymes that promote the activation of procarcinogenic compounds (DALY et al. 1998). Lactobacilli have been periodically
associated with anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumorigenic activities.” ***
“Sauerkraut is one of the few fermented foods for which there is a clinical trial in functional bowel disorders. A randomised double-blind trial compared the effects of sauerkraut containing viable lactic acid bacteria (LAB) on gastrointestinal symptoms and microbiota in 58 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). (…) There was a significant reduction in IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS) score between baseline and end of trial in both study groups, however there was no difference in symptoms between the diet groups.”** “The nutritional impact of fermented foods on nutritional diseases can be direct or indirect. Food fermentations that increase the protein content or improve the balance of essential amino acids or their availability will have a direct curative effect. Similarly fermentations that increase the content or availability of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin or folic acid can have profound direct effects on the health of the consumers of such foods (STEINKRAUS 1997). It was shown that lactic acid fermentation increased the utilisation of iron from food by breakaway of inorganic iron from complex substances under the influence of vitamin C (SIEGENBERG 1991; V ENKATESH 1998). Fermentation may reduce the content of non-digestible material in plant foods such as cellulose, hemicellulose and polygalacturonic and glucuronic acids. Breakdown of these compounds may lead to the improved bioavailability of mineral and trace elements (KALANTZOPOULOS 1997). Fermented foods may reduce the serum cholesterol concentration by reducing the intestinal absorption of dietary and endogenous cholesterol or inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in liver (KALANTZOPOULOS 1997).”***
*”Functional Foods in Health and Disease” 2016; 6(8): 536-543. “Sauerkraut: A Probiotic Superfood” Ryan Orgeron, Angela Corbin, Brigett Scott. Submission Date: May 9, 2016; Acceptance Date: August 27, 2016; Publication Date: August 30, 2016
**”Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease” Eirini Dimidi, Selina Rose Cox, Megan Rossi and Kevin Whelan King’s College London, Department of Nutritional Sciences, London SE1 9NH, UK. Published: 5 August 2019
***”Lactic acid fermented vegetable juices” J. KAROVIČOVÁ, Z. KOHAJDOVÁ Slovak Technical University, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
If you’ve managed to get to the end, I’m very happy 🙂
If you’ll try to make your own sauerkraut juice I will be more than happy 🙂
I’m not an expert, but if you’d have any questions I will do my best to answer.