Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yummy spicy sauerkraut

Cultured food is so good for our bodies.  These foods start with raw veggies or fruits and then through the fermenting process, they actually produce more vitamins and minerals.  Plus, the good bacteria helps your body break down food and fight bad bacteria.

Culturing food is sometimes called fermenting.  This process is also used to make wine, beer, and vinegar.  But did you know that sauerkraut, pickles, ketchup, and soy sauce are also traditionally made by fermenting the ingredients?  Today, these types of foods are mass produced and preserved with vinegar.  While vinegar will preserve the food, these foods are missing all the other benefits of the traditionally fermented foods.  

We've been culturing foods at home for some time now.  We have made our own cheese, yogurt, kefir, and sour cream.  Lately, we've been trying out different veggies as well.  The best word to describe these homemade foods is "yummy!". These are time-tested products, and while most people agree that these are tasty, most don't know that these foods are cultured.  That means the taste, acidity level, and texture of the milk has been modified through the growth of cultures that include bacteria, yeasts, and molds. 

I recently bought Wardeh Harmon's book, The Complete Idiots Guide to Fermenting Foods. link to book.

If you want to try fermenting food, Wardeh makes it easy to get started.  

My favorite so far has been a spicy sauerkraut.  It has cabbage, garlic, red onion, ginger, and of course, hot red cayenne peppers.  I like it really spicy, so added extra red cherry peppers.  I've eaten it with meat, eggs, crackers, and cheese.  I imagine it would taste wonderful with chicken too.

Then again, the garlic carrot sticks were pretty good.  And I've decided I cannot live without dill pickles...  ;)

I can't stop talking about these live foods.  The question is get most often is, "after soaking in water for a 5 days, aren't the vegetables soggy?". Tha answer is amazingly, no, they are not.  My pickles and kraut are crunchier than most store bought items.  And so tasty too.

(sorry about the double posts.  Editing is a struggle on the iPad.)