Monday, October 21, 2013

fermented foods

I started talking about fermentation briefly on my post about Kombucha but I thought I had to say more about the wonderful world of fermentation. If you have ever had miso, sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir then you have experienced fermented foods. Fermentation began a looong time ago when people were trying to find a way to preserve their food. They found that storing food in a salty brine with live cultures kept them clean and edible longer. This process, lactofermentation, not only preserves food but causes beneficial probiotics to multiply.

When fermenting you typically leave chopping veggies and brine at room temperature for a few days. This allows the lactobacilli and enzymes that are naturally present in the vegetables to flourish and create a food that is rich in probiotics, enzymes and minerals. Fermented foods are also known to aid in digestion. The fermentation process neutralizes acids, creates its own enzymes and helps absorb nutrients. This makes fermented foods like the recipe I am about to share the perfect addition to any meal. I throw it on top of a salad or taco and try and make sure I have about a half a cup a day.

Probiotic and Enzyme Salad
Adapted from The Beauty Detox Solution
Makes 3 32-oz glass jars

1 medium head green cabbage (organic of possible), save 6 outer leaves and chop or shred the rest
4 cups filtered water
4 inches gingerroot, peeled and grated
1 T unpasteurized miso paste

1. Sterilize your jars. When working with fermentation it is always important to make sure you are using clean containers. I simply boiled water and dipped my jars in and then let them cool and dry.

2. First blend the water, ginger and miso until smooth. This will be your liquid brine.

3. Place your shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl and pour the liquid brine over it. Mix well.

4. Pack your shredded cabbage mixture into the glass jars. Using a wooden spoon to make sure it is packed tightly. Make sure to leave 2 inches of room at the top of jars so it can have room to expand.

5. Fold a few of the outer cabbage laves into tight rolls and place them on top of the mixture to fill the 2 inch space. Tightly close the jars.

6. Leave the jars in your pantry for 5 days. If you check on them bubbles are a good sign. Be sure the temperature is around 65-70 degrees and if it is cooler then wrap a towel around each jar.

7. After 5 days open your jars, remove the outer cabbage leaves and discard. I have had the jars overflow a little at this part so I always open them over the sink just in case.

8. Move the jars over to the fridge to slow the fermentation process and enjoy daily! Once the seal has been broken they will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

source: natural health magazine

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