One of my favorite gifts this Christmas is a book by Sandor Katz “Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods”. I had forgotten how much I love all those fermented foods, and how easy it is to make them at home. What I didn’t know was how very good they are for our digestive tracts! However they have to still be alive to help us out. This means unpasteurized, and fresh so that these little organisms can re-populate our systems with the good stuff every day.

We don’t realize how dependent we are on these good guys until we start having them again – whole and living – and feel the changes for the better in our guts. There are many different ones in every culture around the world (pun intended). There are the vegetable krauts and kimchis, miso, tempeh, yogurt & kefir, cheese, pickles, meads, wines, and beers. There are also breads, vinegars, soy sauces, and fish sauces. The reason that they are always found on the table in many cultures, including ours just a few decades ago, is because they aid in digestion and elimination – not to mention helping manufacture B vitamins!

But those little organisms have to be live! So it being winter and loving all the heavier foods of winter, I decided to start some sour kraut in a crock on the counter in the kitchen! I’ve made kraut before, years ago, in a #10 crock with a large number of cabbage. It was for the whole winter and little did I know that by canning it, I was killing the best part! So this is a very small batch, less than one large cabbage, layered with sprinkles of sea salt and kosher salt.

A week later when I remove the weight and the plate which keeps the kraut under the brine, it has begun to ferment. The taste is a little bit sharp, salty, and still definitely crunchy to the teeth. Already the kraut tastes yummy and I can hardly wait to see how it tastes next week. I may have to try it every day!

After reading this book, I’ve discovered why my beet borscht was never the right amount of sour. I fiddled with the lemons and the yogurt or sour cream, and still not quite right. Now I find it contains saueruben, or fermented beets, done just like the cabbage kraut! I’ll let you know how it turns out after I’ve fermented the beets for a month or so…

Consider this to be another way to get back to basics and begin to enjoy real, live foods again. We all know the industrialized, factory foods are making us sick; now lets get some real and healing foods back in our lives and on our tables. Start anywhere, making sure the yogurt you buy is alive, making your own sourdough bread, starting sour kraut, eating unpasteurized and/or raw milk cheese. Or there is always making beer at home!

Leave a Comment