Sauerkraut, Two Ways

As I mentioned, the farm stand up the road from our house is selling vegetables for half price this week, and we couldn’t resist loading up on cabbage so we could do some more fermenting.  This week, we started two kinds of sauerkraut, which we are planning to both eat straight and use as a pierogi filling, so I decided to do a bit of research into its history and health benefits. 

 

Did you know sauerkraut has been traced back to 400 BC and was eaten in both China and ancient Rome before it took root in Europe?  It only has 27 calories per cup and is rich in Vitamin C, B6, iron, calcium, magnesium and copper.  It is rich in enzymes and probiotics to support gut and brain health, as well as immunity:  Captain James Cook took sauerkraut on his voyages to prevent scurvy while at sea, and sauerkraut was given to prisoners of war in the American Civil War to reduce their death rate.  Sauerkraut is even supposed to cure cancer sores, and contains sulforaphane, a sulfur-rich compound that has been shown to kill cancer cells. 

 

As the fermenting process breaks the cabbage down, isothiocyanates and glucosinolate byproducts are formed;  these compounds have also been associated with blocking cancer pathways and destroying tumours.  Sauerkraut also contains Vitamin K2, which activates proteins that bind to calcium, contributing to stronger bones. With all of these benefits, eating sauerkraut is a cheap and easy way to ensure we are supporting our health, especially as we come into a flu season that is promising to be worse than usual.

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Sauerkraut – We went very simple this time, combining shredded cabbage with pickling salt and covering with water-filled sandwich baggies as we did with the kim chi.  We will make another batch with caraway seeds this week as well.

 

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Do you have a favourite recipe for sauerkraut, or recipes that incorporate it?  Please drop them below!

Polish Sauerkraut – Combine shredded cabbage, carrot and ginger with pickling salt, and cover.