Anyone who knows me, knows I’m forever banging on about beneficial bacteria! Did you know that around 70% of our immune cells reside in the lining of our digestive tract and are supported by the bacteria that reside there? Eating traditionally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and kefir, which contain natural probiotic bacteria is therefore a great way to help support both gut and immune health. Sauerkraut is usually made with cabbage (my favourite is red cabbage). However, it can actually be made with all kinds of vegetables and love em’ or hate em’ there always tends to be a glut of left-over sprouts at Christmas time! So why not put them to good use and turn them into tummy loving sauerkraut. I’ve flavoured this recipe with caraway seeds, but you can experiment with all kinds of herbs and spices, such as juniper berries, garlic and chilli.
Fermenting can take a while to get the hang of (I still have batches which don’t turn out right), so just give it a go and don’t give up!
Tummy Loving Brussels Sprouts Sauerkraut
- 1 pound Brussels Sprouts (finely shredded)
- 1/2- 1 tspn fine sea salt
- 1 tspn caraway seeds
- 1 Kilner jar (sterilised with boiling water)
- 1 jam jar (with lid), which fits inside the Kilner jar
Shred the Brussels sprouts using a mandolin or a sharp knife. Place in a large (non-metal) bowl. Add the salt and caraway seeds and massage the sprouts to release liquid. This may take 5 minutes or more. Ideally you want enough liquid to cover the sprouts.
Place the sprouts in the kilner jar, packing them down with your hands. Cover with the liquid they have released. Make sure the jam jar is clean and fill with water. Place the jam jar in the kilner jar on top of the sprouts, to weight them down. All the sprouts need to be submerged under liquid (if there is insufficient amount, add a little salt water to cover). Cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band.
Leave in a cool dark place (not the fridge) for 3 days – 1 week. Gently push the jam jar down every so often for the first few days to ensure the sprouts are submerged. You should see little bubbles of air being released as it starts to ferment. If you see any mould develop skim it off straight away.
After 3 days – 1 week, taste the sauerkraut occasionally, and when it is to your taste, remove the jam jar, do up the kilner jar and place in the fridge to slow down the fermentation. Your sauerkraut will keep in the fridge for around 2 months (possibly longer).
To support gut and immune health have a portion daily. I like it on the side of salads, omlets, or even roast dinners.
DID YOU KNOW
- Brussels Sprouts are jam packed full of nutrients. They are especially high in vitamin K, required for blood coagulation and vitamin C.
- Brussels sprouts contain the highest amount of glucosinolates of the cruciferous vegetables. These compounds help support liver detoxification and are the starting point for a number of cancer-protective substances.
- Sprouts are also high in fibre and have been shown to help lower cholsterol (especially when cooked by steaming).
- During the fermenting process bacteria synthesise vitamins and minerals, and produce biologically active peptides with enzymes such as proteinase and peptidase which help us break down our food.
- Fermented foods have been traditionally eaten for centuries and studies have linked their consumption with a variety of physical and mental health benefits.