sauerkraut

Fancy Ferments: 11 Elegant Herbs & Spices

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than my Essential Sauerkraut, made with nothing more than cabbage and sea salt. But when you eat as many fermented foods as I do, or feel like you’re falling into a food rut, I encourage you to elevate your recipes with my list of elegant herbs and spices. 

A hint of lavender, dash of lemongrass, pinch of peppercorns or kick of cardamom, can transform even the simplest jar of pickles. What makes these ingredients so special is that they’re not often used in everyday cooking, and usually of superior quality. It’s like popping into a gourmet shop for artisanal cheese or Belgium chocolate; it’s a fun and sophisticated way to divert from your regular routine. 

And let’s not forget about aesthetics. Adding beautiful colors to your ferments will make them look gorgeous in the jar and on your plate. Just think about how stunning your rice bowls will look (and taste) topped with a fancy ferment. Not only will you want to eat more of these gut-boosting bacteria, you’ll probably want to share your bliss. 

In fact, beautiful ferments make a great homemade gift for all the (health) foodies in your life! With the holidays just around the corner, make up a few batches. Then, transfer them to mini Mason jars, label each one and add a ribbon or bow. Nice and simple… just how I like it! 

Whether you’re making sipping vinegars, traditional pickles, or sauerkraut, try one, two or all of my... 

Elegant Herbs & Spices:

  1. Kefir lime leaves
  2. Pink peppercorns
  3. Cardamom pods
  4. Fennel pollen
  5. Lilac
  6. Lemongrass
  7. Lavender
  8. Lemon or orange peels
  9. Juniper berries
  10. Sumac
  11. Saffron

Not sure how to incorporate herbs and spices into my fermentation recipes? Contact me and I’ll help you out. Or, if you have a favourite, let me know in the comments below. I’ll work on a special recipe and feature it on my blog. 

Essential Sauerkraut Recipe

When I talk to most people about fermentation, they often associate it with sauerkraut. That’s because sauerkraut is the “gateway” ferment for those first entering the probiotic world. Of course, there are countless recipes, but if you’re just getting started, my Essential Sauerkraut recipe is the ultimate beginner go-to. For those with more experience, this is a basic recipe that’s always good to have on hand.

Yes, you can buy sauerkraut at the grocery store, but it’s healthier, cheaper and more fun to make at home. And all you really need are 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt. Once you become more confident in your fermenting skills, you can add in a variety of veggies and aromatics. Some of my favourites are onions, carrots, garlic and ginger. You can even make your kraut seasonal by incorporating sliced radish in spring and summer and shredded root vegetables in fall and winter.

If you haven’t had the best experiences with cabbage, like maybe you’ve only ever had it boiled (ack!), rest assured sauerkraut is way more appetizing. In fact, naturally-forming lactobacillus transforms ordinary cabbage into a salty and tart condiment that packs a nutritional punch. What are those nutritional benefits, you ask?

Sauerkraut:
•    Helps boost your immune system
•    Aids in digestion
•    Repairs the gut
•    Decreases inflammation
•    Fights illnesses and allergies

Plus, cabbage is low in fat, yet high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals… I could really go on all day, but let’s get to the recipe!

Essential Sauerkraut 

Ingredients
1 head of cabbage
Sea salt

Equipment
Wide-mouth jar or fermentation crock

Directions

  1. Chop or grate the cabbage, keeping the pieces relatively even in size.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. I recommend about 3 Tbsp. of salt per 5 lbs. of cabbage, but taste as you go. If the cabbage tastes like a potato chip, and you can’t stop at just one, then you have added the perfect amount.
  3. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage, which will create liquid (aka brine). This can take about 15-20 min.
  4. Place the cabbage into a sterilized glass jar or fermentation crock. Add in all of the brine. 
  5. Using your fist or tamper, push all the cabbage below the liquid, getting all the air bubbles out. 
  6. If the brine does not rise above the cabbage, you can add a little salt water (1 tsp. salt in 1 cup filtered water). However, I’d prefer to wait 24 hours to see if more natural brine is produced. 
  7. Seal the jar or follow manufacture's instructions for using your crock. Leave the jar or crock in a cool, dry place and check the kraut every day or two. Don’t be afraid to give it a taste. You can enjoy in 3 days or, for a stronger product, 2-3 weeks. 
  8. When it has the right amount of tang for you, put it into your fridge and enjoy.

I encourage everyone dealing with any type of gut discomfort to give this recipe a try. If you’re interested in learning more about digestive health and living a more beautiful, vibrant life, sign up for a FREE phone session today! 

Feed the Gorgeous Bacteria living in your belly with some good old fashioned Sauerkraut.

Simple Sauerkraut Recipe:

1 1/2 lbs of green and or red cabbage, finely shredded

1 Tablespoon sea salt

Love ~ this is the most important ingredient

1. Shred or cut up your cabbage in a large bowl. I like to use one green cabbage and one                 red cabbage 

2. Massage high quality sea salt into the cabbage. I like to taste test as I add the salt. If it tastes like a potato chip, you are going have good kraut! 

3. Cover the cabbage with a pate and let it rest for 30 minutes to allow the salt to draw the liquid out. This is optional, if you are rushed for time. Keep massaging and then pack it into a wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jar. Use a wooden spoon to really pack down the cabbage into the jar to release the liquid. The cabbage should be at the shoulder of the jar and have about one inch of liquid covering the cabbage.

4. If there is not enough liquid, because of the type of cabbage or age of the cabbage you can add a brine, just enough to cover the cabbage. I prefer to not add brine, so wait and see if after 24 hours the cabbage has produced more liquid before adding the brine. For the Brine, dissolve 1 teaspoon of high quality sea salt in 1 cup of spring or filtered water. No tap water please.

5. Put the lid on nice and tight. Leave it on your counter to ferment for 7-10 days. Taste test and when it has the right amount of tang for you, put it into your fridge and enjoy!

It starts to get fun and interesting when you add other veggies and spices, like onions, turmeric or caraway seeds. Adding a little heat is delicious as well. 

Feeding the gorgeous bacteria living in your belly, fermented foods, is important for your health and well being.