Sauerkraut was probably discovered accidentally, and probably by some folks who simply had nothing else to eat but a few heads of cabbage. Typically, cabbage grows well, is cheap to procure, and keeps at room temperature or root cellar temperature for longer than many vegetables. And it ferments well.
Yes, when you ferment cabbage, you get sauerkraut. And 16 ounces of it is equal to eight bottles of probiotics.
The History of Sauerkraut
Before the 20th century, people had limited ways to preserve food. One of the most popular ways was via fermentation. Most sources believe that the practice of fermenting cabbage began in China by the men who built the Great Wall of China, but it quickly expanded to Europe and other parts of the world.
Legend has it that Captain Cook, the pirate, served this wonderful dish to his sailors to help prevent scurvy. This works because of the action of live lactic bacteria. These yummy little healthy bacterias facilitate vitamin C synthesis.
Vitamins and Minerals
This delicious dish is also rich in vitamins C, B, and K, and is actually more nutritious than fresh cabbage. This is because the process of fermentation increases bioavailability.
In addition to the vitamins, sauerkraut is full of minerals like calcium and magnesium. It even has lutein and zeaxanthin, which promotes eye health.
Have you heard about vitamin U? Cabbage juice is a source of this rare vitamin and treats peptic ulcers.
Sauerkraut as a Cancer Fighter
In one study by Finnish researchers, sauerkraut was found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in animal and test tube studies. Also, a Polish study concluded that it may help with the chemopreventive activity. In fact, the juice is included in the Budwig preventative and curative anti-cancer diet.
One more awesome sauerkraut tidbit: German supermodel Heidi Klum was asked what was the most contributing factor to her success. Her reply? Her grandmother’s sauerkraut soup, which kept her slim and trim.
The best way to get good sauerkraut is to make your own. However, it’s important to follow directions precisely to avoid food poisoning. Consult the USDA website to get important information about how to make it safely.
Basic Sauerkraut Recipe
6 pounds cabbage
3 Tbsp. sea salt
Remove the cabbage’s outer leaves, and shred the rest of it.
In a bowl, mix the cabbage with the salt. To stimulate the release of the juices, massage it thoroughly with your hands for about 15 minutes.
Next, transfer the entire mixture to your larger fermentation container, which can be a plastic bucket.
Pound it down for the juice to come all the way to the surface and cover it with a plate. Leave two inches of space at the top.
Put a heavy glass jar that’s full of water over the plate.
Keep the container at room temperature for a month in a cool dark place, covered with a towel.
After a month, store the kraut in the refrigerator and enjoy!