Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sauerkraut, Ferments and so much more.....

Yay!  It's almost summertime and that means Robbinsville (the town I currently live in) is filled with festivals and fun activities.  Yesterday was the first day for our local Farmer's Market.  Every Monday from now until September 26th, the Robbinsville Farmer's Market convenes at the parking lot across the street from my house from 3pm – 7:30pm.  Convenient, yes, I know!  J
So, The Taste of Times Square (which I usually go to faithfully every year) was yesterday, but I skipped it, so that I could be home in time to visit the Farmer's Market.  Of course, there decides to be traffic and we arrive just in time to catch all the leftovers before all the farmers wrap up and go home.  What did I score?  Some toffee roasted almonds and pecans, as well as dehydrated kiwi fruit and ginger.  What else?  SAUERKRAUT!

For those who don't know, sauerkraut is one of the best foods in the world that you can eat…….especially (and only) when it's freshly made and not processed/pasteurized.  Not only is it loaded with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, it's loaded with probiotics!  For those who are lactose intolerant or cutting dairy from their diet, this is a good alternative to yogurt.
For those who didn't know, sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, just as pickles are fermented cucumbers.  I tried making some about a month ago, but it was my very first attempt and didn't fully ferment, as I had hoped.  So, I was happy to score a freshly made variety at the Farmer's Market yesterday.  Some facts, which I pulled from Dr. Weil's website are below.
Sauerkraut may not be the best food in the world for health, but fresh sauerkraut is VERY good for you. The friendly lactobacilli created in the fermenting process by which cabbage is transformed into sauerkraut aid digestion, increase vitamin levels, produce a variety of beneficial enzymes and promote the growth of healthy flora throughout the digestive tract. And in a study published in the October 23, 2002 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Finnish researchers reported that fermenting cabbage produces compounds known as isothiocyanates, shown in laboratory studies (in test tubes and animals) to prevent the growth of cancer. There's no evidence, yet, that these compounds have the same effect in humans, but we do know that isothiocyanates occur naturally in broccoli and brussel sprouts, vegetables which appear to be protective against cancer.
From a nutritional point of view sauerkraut is a great food choice. One cup amounts to only 44 calories, provides eight grams of fiber and plenty of vitamin C. The downside to sauerkraut is its salt content. To make sauerkraut you shred cabbage, add salt and wait for it to ferment. The salt draws out the cabbage juice, which contains sugar. The juice and sugar ferment forming lactic acid, which creates sauerkraut's tangy flavor. But sauerkraut is one of the saltiest foods available, containing much too much sodium for people with high blood pressure and heart disease. If you rinse and soak sauerkraut in cold water before you eat it, you can lower the sodium content considerably.
Many peoples in the world, including Germans, Japanese and Chinese, consider it important to include fermented foods in their diets. Natural pickles, Korean Kimchi, tempeh and miso (made from soy) as well as high quality yogurt are all sources of the friendly cultures found in sauerkraut. Unfortunately, most of today's commercially available sauerkraut is pasteurized and "dead" - that is, it lacks the beneficial bacterial cultures that make it so good for us. Instead, all you get is a lot of salt. To get the health benefits, look for fresh sauerkraut in the refrigerated sections of natural food stores and in barrels in delicatessens that still make their own. Or, even better, make it yourself - it's not that difficult.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
I am also a huge fan of a nutritionist named Kimberly Snyder.  Her website also includes information of the benefits of sauerkraut (which she calls Probiotic & Enzyme Salad) and provides a video and instructions on how to make it at home.  Below are some useful benefit data, which appears on her page.
I cannot stress enough the importance of the Probiotic and Enzyme Salad in helping to make us more clean and balanced. This sacred and extremely nutritious salad. It is packed with enzymes and flora to increase our immunity and to restore us to a basic pH. It doesn't take that much time to make, and it is the most inexpensive way to get daily probiotics. This is especially important for those of you that can't afford probiotic supplements, which can definitely be expensive. Cabbage is very inexpensive, so there is no excuse to not make this salad!!
Imbalanced intestinal flora is one of the root causes of disease and is essential to replenish to achieve true health and therefore true beauty. This powerful salad will lead to improved Beauty Energy and ongoing cleansing. Most importantly, it will aid you in clear up any digestive blockages or irregularities that you are experiencing. It is great for those with Candida and sugar cravings.
Probiotic & Enzyme Salad is essentially raw sauerkraut and is made with green cabbage, miso paste or sea salt, and optionally flavor add-ons like ginger or carraway seeds. The raw, cultured veggies that are chopped and sealed in airtight containers for a few days. Sealing and storing the cabbage creates an environment for lactobacilli and enzymes in the vegetables to flourish, creating a probiotic-rich food. Pretty cool, right? Cabbage in itself has natural probiotics, is packed with vitamin C, and has natural cleansing properties. I love that that it's so easy to make and is a yummy, tangy accompaniment for any meal.
Sauerkraut usually stirs up images of a soppy, salty condiment that adds flavor to various meats, but this is not what you are making here! It's time to break the stereotype and open up your mind to the possibility of delicious, nutritious and beautiful foods that benefit the body and the mind. Probiotic & Enzyme Salad is the most powerful tool you can use to get there!
Remember, the fermentation process to create all of those healthy nutrients takes about 5 days so when you start to run low, be sure to whip up a new batch. You can store sealed jars of salad in the refrigerator for up to a month or so, once the seal has been broken, it will keep for up to 1 month. Probiotic & Enzyme Salad should be a core staple of your Beauty Detox by including ½ cup for dinner each night and also at lunch when possible.
For a simple and easy demo on how to make Probiotic & Enzyme Salad, click here! If you are still having issues with your batches going funky, remember to 1)Sterilize everything very well beforehand 2)Pack the mixture down firmly 3)Make sure your jar lids are tightly closed 4)Use spring water to make the brine.
Through increasing your consumption of probiotics and probiotic-rich foods, over time you will see an increase in energy and skin beauty, which will further serve as motivation to keep eating them!

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