It goes without saying that as we face a global health pandemic, it’s more important than ever we eat right, stay healthy and do what we can to stay positive. A major factor in this is paying attention to gut health. While this won’t protect you from Covid-19, it will help prevent a host of other illnesses. Making these at-home recipes will also give you something fun and positive to focus on while stuck inside the house.
As more people start to understand how vital microbiome health is to their overall wellbeing, many have begun to embrace fermented foods. With glowing skin, better digestion, and less anxiety as just a few of the benefits, it’s easy to see why this type of food has taken hold as one of the best ways to keep your system healthy. The good news is that it’s super easy to make these foods yourself, making sure that the good bacteria stays alive without the presence of preservatives often found in the store-bought varieties.
When it comes to sauerkraut, you just need a head of cabbage and salt. Core the cabbage, shred the leaves and then pour salt over them. From here, put the cabbage shreds into a jar, pressing the leaves down as liquid starts to form. Cover the jar and continue to press the leaves down every few hours; more liquid should form as you do this. You can always add water as well. A good rule of thumb to follow is to keep tasting the kraut until it tastes right; once it does, place it in the fridge. The longer the kraut sits, the more fermented it gets and the more probiotics can grow.
Brine for Beginners
When making probiotic-filled foods like pickled vegetables, it’s important to find the right brine. A combination of water, white vinegar, salt, and sugar, brine is the medium in which your food gets fermented. Generally, when using a medium-sized mason jar, you can use half a cup of both water and vinegar with one teaspoon of salt and sugar each. Chop your vegetables to fit in the mason jar. Once you boil off the salt and sugar in the brine, you can pour the hot liquid over the vegetables. Let it cool to room temperature and store. If the brine doesn’t reach the lid, boil more of the brine to fill to the top. Depending on the vegetable, wait at least 24 hours for the fermentation process to take place before eating.
Have Fun with Flavors
With fermented vegetables, you can customize your food to your liking. You can add garlic, peppercorns, dill, cilantro – you name it. When choosing different flavors, just simply top the vegetables with the spice or herb before you pour the brine over. In addition to being able to choose virtually any vegetable you enjoy, using different flavors can make your food unique to you.
Fermented foods make great side dishes, snacks and toppings. Not only do they taste great, they help your gut stay healthy and keep your immune system strong. Making them at home helps keep the good bacteria and probiotics flourishing and ready to improve your digestion. Try these tips next time you need a gut reset.
Paige Pichler is a writer, speaker, Project HEAL National Ambassador and yoga instructor. She writes about wellness, higher consciousness and health trends for a better life.