Enzymes Probiotics: Sauerkraut, Four Things To Remember When Making This Probiotic And Enzyme Powerhouse
I Speak From Experience
Over the year's I have had a hand in making 100's of gallons of raw live sauerkraut. Its has played a significant role in helping me provide powerfull, yet inexpensive probiotics and enzymes, that I have been able to use, to help my clients on their journies to wellness. I believe, I have probably used almost every method known to man when it comes to making sauerkraut. If you have a recipe, you think I missed, make sure you send it to me or just put it in the comments section. The most important thing you can do is to make some homemade sauerkraut and thereby bring a new level of health to yourself and your family.
Don't Be In A Hurry To Refrigerate Your Sauerkraut
First things first. When I was recently helping one of the major national natural health institutes, revamp their program, the first thing I noticed was that they were refrigerating their sauerkraut on the same schedule as they did their rejuvelac. Because of their inexperience, their guests were missing out on vast quantities of prebiotics, probiotic, enzymes and bioavailable nutrients.
So, let me make this as clear as possible. Don't refrigerate early.
You need to let the three steps of the fermentation process happen naturally. Always keep in mind, the length of time required for the completion of the three stages of the fermentation process. The longer out of the fridge, the more powerful the sauerkraut, up to a point. (Note: I have never gone more than 30 days leaving the kraut to ferment.) The process is dependent on the average room temperature and proper temperature control during the fermentation stages will ensure a safe and healthy product.
Most of our homes temperatures vary with the season. So, we must be aware of our thermostat settings unless we are fermenting the sauerkraut or any other cultured food in a controlled environment, like a closet.
The Sauerkraut like all of our cultured and fermented foods does best, in stage one, started at temperatures of between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 and 22 Celsius. These proper temperature settings ensure that the sauerkraut enters into the first step in the all important fermentation process. Once the sauerkraut has moved passed the first stage its time to move it to a warmer place.
Stage One Of The Sauerkraut Fermentation Process
By having temperatures set in the right fermentation zone, of between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 and 22 Celsius. You are assuring that the first step in the fermenting process takes place in the right amount of time and has the proper effect on the fermenting process.
By adhering to the temperature, requirements for the first stage, we are ensuring that the Leuconostoc mesenteroides will begin producing carbon dioxide, thus replacing the oxygen in your sauerkraut. It's a crucial step, and if the temperature is too cold or too hot, the replacement of the oxygen by the carbon dioxide may not be adequate, ruining your sauerkraut. This is also when the lactic, acetic, formic and succinic acids are being formed and released and by the 3rd day the enzymes are in full force and the Leuconostoc mesenteroides bacteria have died off, changing the environment into anaerobic thereby decreasing the chances of spoilage, and setting the stage for the next phase of the fermentation process.
I know that this step in the process can be speeded up, even reduced to a single day by raising the room temperature, but you risk, spoiling your sauerkraut. I would suggest you become proficient in fermenting and culturing, before implementing shortcuts.
I have been making sauerkraut for many years, and even with my extensive experience, I still need to keep an eye on the temperature. I am always making sure each stage of the fermentation process is monitored to ensure having that we are eating the healthiest sauerkraut possible.
Stage Two Of The Sauerkraut Fermentation Process
So, we know the first stage of fermentation lasts between one and three days, depending on the room temperature, with three days providing the best insurance that step one is complete. Some fermenters keep their sauerkraut in this stage for a longer period, but I have never found it necessary to do so.
Moving into stage two; now it's time to turn up the temperature. We will need to move the sauerkraut to a warmer place in the house unless you like a to live in a hot house.
Both stages two and three require higher temperatures than stage one. The four different strains of Lactobacillus in the sauerkraut now need to grow faster, and that requires temperatures of between 72 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 22 and 32 Celsius. Missing this stage and this temperature range will cause the pH levels to not adequately rise, and the level may be too low to preserve the sauerkraut.
As we move through the three-four days of the fermentation process of the second stage, we begin to see an increase in the number of Lactobacillus strains along with a rise in lactic and acetic acids levels. Oxygen levels continue to decrease. Vitamin bioavailability increases and stabilizes, on or about the fifth or sixth day, since starting the sauerkraut.
Special Note: I have always made sauerkraut, using Dr. Ann Wigmores basic recipe. We never add salt during the fermenting process, as it inhibited the growth of the pre and probiotics. We also never let the sauerkraut get too hot because we never wanted to lose potent enzymes, inherent to the sauerkraut fermentation process. Remember fermentation creates its heat, so never ferment your sauerkraut during stages two and three, in a space that is more than 90 degrees.
Sage Three Of The Sauerkraut Fermentation Process
The temperature of the area where the sauerkraut is being kept should still be between 72 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 22 and 32 Celcius. The lower the temperature, the longer the sauerkraut will need to ferment.
This third stage of the sauerkrauts fermentation process lasts from five to seven days, again depending on the temperature. During this period, the pH levels in the sauerkraut will significantly drop, and the Lactobacillus will continue to increase until the level of lactic acid is high enough to stop their growth.
Bubbles will appear on the sides and top of your jar as the most of the sugars and carbohydrates morph into mainly lactic acid. It's at this point where most of the fermenters stop, when making sauerkraut, because from here they pasteurize it. We believe this kills way too many of the probiotics, all the enzymes and reduces the nutrients. We believe stage 4 is the answer.
Stage Four Of The Sauerkraut Fermentation Process
Stage four represents the pinnacle of culturing sauerkraut. It's the level Dr. Ann Wigmore wanted us to bring all of our sauerkrauts and other fermented and cultured foods. Stage four sets those of us who follow the living foods lifestyle apart from the rest of the world.
Remember we never used salt when we started the sauerkraut and we will not pasteurize it now. During this final stage, the sauerkraut will be transformed into a true superfood, superior in every way to its dead cousin.
For an extra 48 hours, the sauerkraut is kept on the kitchen counter at room temperature, as long as the temperature does not go above ninety degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius.
This extra time allows for additional formations of lactobacillus and heterofermentative species to devour any remaining sugars. This process opens fortifies the sauerkraut and brings its nutrients to the highest bioavailability.
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My Take On Dr Ann's Favorite Vegekraut-Sauerkraut Recipe
Dr. Ann Wigmores Favourite Vegekraut, With Onions And Optional Herbs
It's always nice to have a food processor, but it's not necessary. You will need a sharp knife, crock pot or large jar, wooden spoon, plate and a weight, like a heavy rock that can be set on the plate during the fermentation process.
- 1 Average Green Cabbage - Cabbage should feel solid. Save outer leaves
- 1 Average Purple Cabbage - Cabbage should feel solid, Save outer leaves
- 6 Medium Carrots - Peal grate the carrots
- 1 Large Red Apple - Do not peal, but grate the apple
- 1 Large Sweet Red Onion - Chop the onion into tiny pieces
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice or Rejuvelac (The rejuvelac helps speed the fermentation process)
- Optional Seasonings to taste (garlic, cayenne, herbs, caraway seeds) – optional. Dr, Ann never used any of these in her krauts. She felt that most herbs, especially onions and garlic's unbalanced the bodies systems.
Have you ever made sauerkraut or any other cultured food?
Use a food processor or knife to chop finely the cabbage and the (onions, apple & carrots) vegetables. You need to make this a very fine cut, as you will need to press down the cabbage and veggies together to keep out the air.
One thing that helps ensure that your kraut will not go bad is to PRESS in layer after 2-inch layer, of sliced vegetables and cabbage into the crockpot, the pressing should create juice. Add in any juice left over from processing the cabbage onto the layers of veggies and kraut. I usually will juice another small cabbage and use the juices to fill in, to ensure no air gets into the mix. If you are using, seasonings don't forget to mix them in at each level.
Cover the top outside with cabbage leaves. Place a large plate and weight on top (we use a large stone). Press down to remove air from vegekraut. Leave at room temperature around 72 degrees for three days or until it is sour enough for your taste. Now place in a warm room or closet. The temperature should be around 80-90 degrees. Leave for 4-7 days let bubbles rise. Move the veggie kraut into a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate. It will keep up to for several weeks. Eat at least a ½ cup a day with meals and enjoy the excellent flavor and nutritional benefits of this super food!
About the Author
Robert "Bobby" Morgan, is a certified holistic practitioner and living food advocate. He is dedicated to sharing the health and healing protocols of Dr. Ann Wigmore and the other great natural healers who have shared with us how to live healthier and more fulfilled lives.
Any medicinal references mentioned here are strictly for educational purposes based on my research through study, empirical evidence, personal use and herbal lore but not intended as medical advice of any kind. Herbs can be helpful allies in creating and maintaining good health, but they can also be powerful medications that should be treated with respect. Used improperly, they can cause adverse reactions or interfere with pharmaceuticals.
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