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Fermentation Rocks! ~ Sauerkraut

Words & Recipe by Liz Beebe  // Photography by Becca Murray // Featured Photo by Jennifer Simonson

With Spring officially upon us, it’s time for a little Spring Cleaning—from the inside out! We’ve enlisted our fave LA lady songstress and healthy eating expert, Liz Beebe, to contribute a series of do-it-yourself fermentation recipes to help heal your gut, support your system and keep you in prime health so you can get out there and enjoy your fullest life!

HAPPY SPRING EATING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels

I am a huge proponent of food as medicine. I fully believe that if you feed your body whole, organic (when possible), nutrient-dense foods, you will look and feel your best. A great documentary called “Food As Medicine” just came out illustrating this lifestyle. It features some of the leading experts on diet as the number one intervention you can address to turn your health around. (It’s available for free to stream if you have Amazon Prime.) One of the ways I ensure that I’m getting all the vitamins I can is by ingesting fermented foods.

Fermentation is a bacterial method of breaking down foods so that your body can more easily absorb them, making them more “bio-available”. Fermented foods include (but are not limited to) kombucha, cheese, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and more!

Consuming fermented foods can improve digestion. They are also very beneficial for our microbiota (the colony of bacteria that live in our gut) as it helps to introduce and/or maintain the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is important because science proves that our gut acts as a second brain to our body. It is the largest producer of serotonin in the body and is instrumental in the proper production of hormones (especially important for women). So treat your gut right! Eat some fermented foods!

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some SUPER EASY and fun ways to make fermented foods at home. I recommend making these foods at home because it is exponentially cheaper than purchasing at the store, you can control the flavor and it ensures that the fermented food you are consuming is RAW. If you pasteurize fermented foods (the way that milk often is) then you are killing the very bacteria that you want to consume. I use a fermentation crock at my house. It is a one-time investment but makes for the easiest “set it and forget it” at-home fermentation. (Mine was about $60 for a 5L crock on Amazon, but you can usually find deals online here!) Okay, here we go!



SAUERKRAUT


INGREDIENTS~

  • 2-3 heads of cabbage. (You can use which ever kind you like. For this round, I used 2 heads of Savoy Cabbage and 1 head of Red Cabbage.)
  • Roughly 2 Tbsp Sea Salt

That’s it!


INSTRUCTIONS~

Reserve 2-3 leaves of cabbage (whole).

Core the heads of cabbage.

Chop into desired thickness. I prefer my sauerkraut in stringier, smaller pieces.

Cover the bottom of the crock with about 2-3 handfuls of chopped cabbage.

Sprinkle some sea salt over this layer. (I don’t measure the salt, I just sprinkle some after each layer. I’d describe it as a medium amount, not too generous but not a light sprinkling.)

Layer another 2-3 handfuls of cabbage. Using your fist, jam that cabbage down onto the previous layer. The end result is that you want as little air as possible in between the cabbage.

Follow with another sprinkling of sea salt.

Continue layering cabbage and sea salt until all the cabbage is in the crock and tamped down.

Cover the top of the chopped and salted cabbage with the whole leaves. (No need to salt this.) Place the weights on top of these whole leaves. (Sometimes I have to jam mine in there when the crock is full.)

Place the cover on the crock. Leave for 2 hours.

The salt should draw out liquid from the cabbage and create a brine for the cabbage to ferment in. However, I have always had to add additional liquid to the crock to ensure that the cabbage is fully covered. To do this, boil a tea kettle of water and dissolve 1/2 Tbsp of sea salt. LET IT COOL COMPLETELY. Pour the cooled, salted water into the crock until the liquid level reaches about 1 cm above the weights. Everything in the crock should be submerged in liquid.

Now replace the top of the crock and fill the reservoir around the lid with water. This lid creates an anaerobic environment by allowing gases made during the fermentation process to escape but no oxygen to get in! (Especially helpful for reducing any scum that naturally would form on top of the liquid inside the crock.)

Make sure that the reservoir around the lid stays filled with water. I have to refill mine a couple of times.

Don’t open the crock for a minimum of 2 weeks. At this point, you can begin tasting it. I prefer to leave mine fermenting for a minimum of 4 weeks but you can leave it even longer if you like!

When your sauerkraut is ready, scoop into sealable jars. It should fill about 5-6 jars. It will not go bad! I keep mine in the fridge but you can store them in a pantry as well. Keep for yourself or share with friends!


Liz Beebe is the lady lead singer of LA band Dustbowl Revival. When she’s not touring, she spends her time in Silverlake snuggling her French bulldogs and cooking food. She manages auto immune symptoms via lifestyle and diet and writes about her health journey at lizbeebe.com/blog. Follow her tour adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @beebejesus.


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© 2017 Sirens and Scoundrels //  Recipe © 2017 Liz Beebe

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