Fermenting Apples and Cabbage
2 small green cabbages, or 1 very large
1 small red cabbage
1 jicama (optional)
2 Tbsp sea or Kosher salt
- Peel off the outer leaves of the cabbages. Quarter the cabbage and remove the core. Slice or chop the cabbage. (If using a food processor, set on the largest slice setting.) Many recipes call for ﬁnely slicing or chopping the cabbage, but I prefer larger pieces.
- Transfer the shredded cabbage to a large bowl with plenty of space for you to get your hands in and mix it around. Salt the chopped cabbage. Massage the salt into the cabbage to draw the water out. A great shortcut to doing this is to massage your cabbage for a few minutes, walkaway for 30 minutes, have lunch, come back and voila – most of this work will be done for you. What you are looking for is for all the water to be drawn out of the cabbage by the salt and to start seeing a salt-water brine starting to form at the bottom of the bowl. You will need enough brine to cover your sauerkraut in the vessel you will be using to ferment it.
- Grate, julienne, or chop the apples and jicama. Keep the apple/jicama and cabbage separate.
- Once you’ve got your cabbage massaged, gently mix in your grated apple until it is combined evenly. Now its ready to go into a container. Jam it in tightly using a wooden spoon or a mortar.
- Add filtered water to cover. Add something heavy and inert to keep the pieces under the salt solution.
- Check the vegetables every day to make sure they are fully submerged in the brine. If they have risen above the brine, simply push them down so they are fully covered by the brine.
Benefits of Sauerkraut’s Pro-biotics
First and foremost, sauerkraut’s live and active pro-biotics have beneﬁcial effects on the health of your digestive tract — and therefore the rest of your body, too. That’s because a very large portion of your immune system actually lives within your gut and is run by bacterial organisms, what you can think of as “your gut’s bugs” that live within your intestinal ﬂora.
After eating foods like sauerkraut that provide pro-biotics, these gut bugs take up residence on the lining and folds of your intestinal walls. They also act like your ﬁrst line of defense against various harmful bacteria or toxins that enter your body. Some beneﬁcial pro-biotic bacteria found in sauerkraut and other cultured veggies are more or less permanent residents because they form long-lasting colonies. Others come and go more quickly but still have important anti-inﬂammatory effects.
The good bacteria living in someone’s healthy gut-environment have been proved to be crucial for lowering the risk of just about every form of acute or chronic illness there is. This is due to pro-biotics’ direct and indirect inﬂuences on various organs and systems, especially the rate at which your body produces inﬂammation and controls hormone production. The “good bacteria” and other organisms living within your gut might as well be considered an organ in their own right, because they’re critically important to the health of your brain, hormones, heart, lungs, liver and digestive organs. The latest science tells us that pro-biotic-rich foods can help:
- Improve immune function, since they create a barrier against potential invaders including “bad bacteria” like pathogens, viruses, fungi and parasites
- Aid in digestion and the absorption of various nutrients
- Detoxify the body, since pro-biotics help prevent infections and combat toxins living within your digestive tract
- Support brain function and cognitive health, even helping to prevent dementia, treat Alzheimer’s disease. and stave off memory loss
- Handle stress through the “gut-brain” connection, your microﬂora’s effects on your endocrine (hormonal) system
- Control inﬂammation that is at the root of most diseases
Billie Nicholson, Editor