Scientists have estimated that each of us has in excess of 100 trillion bacteria and microbes living in our body. We have a symbiotic relationship with them. They are necessary for our health and for our survival and we are necessary for theirs.
When I was at school I was taught that ‘my body’ was just that – ‘mine’. There was just me and then the rest of the world. Research now is showing us a very different world and this is having a huge impact on how we view it. Our bodies, far from being one separate being are actually made up of millions and trillions of living beings – more of a walking community! All these microbes have important roles to play in keeping our bodies functioning properly.
It is particularly important to have a healthy population of ‘good’ bacteria in our gut as it is in the gut that most of the nutrients are extracted from our food. Even though we eat what we think is a healthy diet; if we aren’t able to absorb the nutrients from the food then we will not be as healthy as we could be. One way to improve the health and functioning of your gut is to eat ‘live’ fermented food.
A friend recently lent me a book about fermenting. She thought it might be useful as a means of preserving fresh food as we don’t have a fridge or freezer. I found it very interesting and last week made my first batch of sauerkraut which tasted fantastic!
Sauerkraut is really easy to make by rubbing salt into the chopped cabbage leaves – this breaks down the cell walls and within a short amount of time water is drawn out of the cabbage. The cabbage is then packed tightly into a jar, covered with one of the outer cabbage leaves to stop air coming into contact with it and weighted down to keep the cabbage in place under the salt-water solution. The jar is covered with a cloth and placed out of direct sunlight for anything from 4 – 10 days to ferment. Keep testing it until you get the flavour you prefer. Many different vegetables can be fermented and the best thing is that they are really good for you! They retain all their nutrients and become easier to digest too.
It is not necessary to sterilise the jars, just ensure they are clean.
Why not have a go at making your own fermented vegetables?