Sunday, August 12, 2007

Raw Sauerkraut Recipe - a lacto-fermented food

If I had only known when ate all those chili-cheese dogs at Der Wienershnitzel 25 years ago, I would've ordered the Kraut Dog with ketchup instead....however, I doubt it really would've made a difference since it was canned sauerkraut and canned ketchup! Hardly "lacto-fermented" in any way shape or form.

Interestingly enough, ketchup actually provides us with an excellent example of a condiment that was formerly fermented and therefore health promoting, but whose benefits where lost with large scale canning methods and a reliance on sugar rather than lactic acid as a preservative.

Studies have shown that lacto-fermented foods normalize the acidity in the stomach. If stomach acidity in insufficient, it stimulates the acid producing glands of the stomach, and in cases where acidity is too high it has the inverse effect. Lactic acid helps break down proteins and thus aids in their assimilation by the body.

Additionally, lactic acid activates the secretions of the pancreas, which is particularly important for diabetics...Sauerkraut contains large quantities of choline, a substance that lowers blood pressure and regulates the passage of nutrients in to the blood... choline has another interesting property in that it aids the body in the metabolsim of fats. If choline is lacking, fats accumulate in the liver.

Sauerkraut also contains acetylcholine which has a powerful effect on the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps reduce blood pressure, slows down the rate of heartbeat, and promotes calmness and sleep. It is important to be aware that Acetylcholin is destroyed by cooking, raw sauerkraut and its juice is preferable to cooked.

See below for the recipe.

Raw Sauerkraut Recipe:
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tablespooon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons sea salt

In a bowl, mix cabbage, with caraway seeds and sea salt. Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pound or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but it improves with age.

And for all of you daring enough to make your own ketchup, here's the recipe:

3 cups canned tomato paste, preferably organic
1/4 cup whey (strained yogurt, whey is the liquid that drains in to the bowl)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup commercial fish sauce (I don't recommend making this at home.)

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Place in a quart sized , wide-mouth mason jar. The top of the ketchup should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Leave at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.

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