Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sour cabbage – Professor of Probiotics

Sour cabbage – Professor of Probiotics

Sour cabbage (Germans call it Sauerkraut) is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinct sour taste, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the cabbage.

History of Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut originated approximately 2,000 years ago in China. It was known as suan cai, a particular
type of “pickled vegetable with sour taste”, made by natural fermentation of Napa cabbage or Chinese green. The earliest known history of suan cai is the laborers who built the Wall of China got their nourishment from rice and various types of fermented and pickled vegetables including suan cai.
It wasn't until 1,000 years later that Genghis Khan plundered China and brought back this recipe to Europe. The Germans gave it the name "sauerkraut", learned to make this from their native European cabbage.
It soon became a staple for seafaring men. It kept well without refrigeration and the vitamin content found in sauerkraut helped keep the ship's crews scurvy free. The famous ship captain, James Cook, once ordered 25,000 pounds of sauerkraut to outfit two ships.
In World War I and II, the slang word “kraut” was used to refer to sailors and ultimately all German soldiers because of a long history of German ships being outfitted with sauerkraut as part of daily food rations to prevent the onset of scurvy. 

The Science behind Sauerkraut Lacto-fermentation

Lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic oxidation of carbs present in cabbage, brought about by the Lactobacilli bacteria (lactic acid-producing bacteria LABs). These Lactobacilli reduce the pH, making the environment acidic and unsuitable for the growth of unwanted bacteria. The goal of making sauerkraut is to provide the best environment for Lactobacilli to grow.

Stages of Sauerkraut fermentation

Sauerkraut must go through three specific stages of fermentation.

Stage One

Leuconostoc mesenteroides initiates sauerkraut fermentation. Since Leuconostoc mesenteroides produce carbon dioxide, which effectively replaces the oxygen in the jar, making the environment oxygen-free. When lactic acids reach between .25 and .3%, Leuconostoc mesenteroides bacteria slow down and die off, but enzymes continue to function. This stage lasts between one and three days, depending on temperature.  

Stage Two

Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus cucumeris continue the ferment until lactic acid level of 1.5-2% is --attained. High salt and low temp inhibit these bacteria, so I hope you didn’t over-salt your cabbage. This stage continues for 10-30 days, depending on temperature.

Stage Three

Lactobacillus brevis (may be Lactobacillus pentoaceticus also) finish off the ferment. When lactic acid reaches 2-2.5%, they reach their max growth and the ferment is over. This final stage lasts under a week. When no more bubbles appear in the jar, your sauerkraut is ready.

Factors affecting Lacto-fermentation

Although the process is simple, and will complete well if the right amount of salt added, there are
some factors that influence how sauerkraut will turn out. These are follows:

Brine level

Bacteria that may spoil sauerkraut will have the upper hand if you have an insufficient level of brine. Too low level of brine allows the undesirable aerobic bacteria and yeasts to grow on the surface. This can cause bad-flavors and discoloration of kraut.


Lactobacillus plantarum, the primary bacteria responsible for Stage Two, works best without oxygen. Presence of oxygen will promote mold formation, allows pink yeasts to grow and could result in soft ‘kraut.


The ideal temperature to make a perfect sauerkraut is 18-24 degrees celcius. It’s important toflowerpot. Water will remain cold in the clay pot and thus maintain the right temperature in the jar. Temperature also affects enzymes, which are destroyed once the temperature has risen to 45 degrees.
maintain the right temperature. In hot countries like India, it is very difficult to maintain this temperature. We have developed a desi technique for this issue. You can keep your jar in a water filled clay


Use only iodine-free rock salt at a ratio of about 1 to 3% and mix thoroughly. Much more than this and the Lactobacilli can’t thrive, less than this may promote yeast and mold formation.


Since sauerkraut has a pH of 4.6 or lower, it is acidic. The acidic environment will not permit the growth of bacterial spores and thus is resistant to spoilage.
Lactobacilli thrive in an acid environment, but so can molds and yeasts. But always remember that you should keep the oxygen out in order to prevent mold and yeast formation.  Yeast and mold both need an oxygen source to thrive.  

How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

What You Need?

2-3 medium heads of green cabbage (about 3 kilos), Rock salt, 1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional), Mixing bowl, Mason jar, weighing machine, Cutting board and Chef's knife

Slice the cabbage

Peal the outer leaves of the cabbage and remove two to two leaves from the next layer, which would be needed later on. Cut the cabbage in the half and remove the core, the core is rich is nutrient so chop it well over. Then cut each half into two pieces and slice each half into thin strips. Now slice the remaining cabbage as well.

Weigh and calculate the salt

After chopping, we weigh the shredded cabbage and calculate how much rock salt is needed. Ideal quantity of the salt should be 1 to 3%. Today we have 3000 gm of cabbage; we need to calculate 1.5% of 3000 gm which is 45 gm. Then we use the scale again to weigh 45 gm of salt.

Mix the cabbage and salt

Transfer the cabbage to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin adding the salt into
Fido Jar makes good Sour-Cabbage
the cabbage by mashing and bursing the cabbage with your hands or potato masher. Keep adding layer of salt and cabbage as you burse the shredded cabbage.  It will release the water which will come to the top. Add extra water if needed.
Keep pressing down firmly to remove all air. Wrap the fresh cabbage leaves on top to protect the shredded cabbage.

Weigh the cabbage down

Now place a plastic bag inside and fill it with RO water to add weight over the cabbage. Leave only a small (2 to 3 cm) gap between the bag and the lid. Then tie the bag in the container.

Ferment the cabbage  

Your sauerkraut will be ready in 4-6 weeks depending on the room temperature, when ready sauerkraut should be refrigerated.  Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.
Harsch Crock with stone weights
While it's fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process.  If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged.
Refrigerate the sauerkraut  
This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for over one year if kept refrigerated.  

Harsch Fermenting Crock

 Harsch Fermenting Crock is the best pot to make sauerkraut. This crock has a special gutter in the rim, and a ceramic cover fits into the gutter which is filled with water thus creating the air lock. Gases (CO2)  from the fermentation can escape, but air can not enter the crock from outside. Thus creating oxygen free environment. The Harsch crock comes with a 2 piece stone that is used to weigh down and apply pressure on the cabbage.                 

Colon World – A Disney Land of tiny creatures

There is a huge population of bacteria, roughly ten times as the numbers of all of our human cells colonized in our digestive system. We cannot stay alive without these wonderful friendly bacteria, here battles are fought, helpful substances, vitamins are produced, and the immune system is strengthened. The following actions are taken place here:
1.    Vitamins  are manufactured  and minerals are absorbed into the blood
2.    Friendly bacteria kill the disease causing bacteria, such as Salmonella
3.    Friendly bacteria reduce the levels of some toxins, such as ammonia
4.    Short-chain fatty acids (the wonderful fats) are manufactured, most of which are absorbed into the blood, but some are used as food for the cells of the colon. The short-chain fatty acids recently gathered lot of attention among the scientists. It is difficult to get these fats in our food, so the body relies on the process going on in Colon World to make these fats for us. They are important in keeping the cells of the colon healthy and preventing ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, and diverticular disease. They may also help regulate cholesterol and insulin response.

Benefits of Sauerkraut

1.   Professor of Probiotics - Leuconostoc mesenteroides,  plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus pentoaceticus, Lactobacillus plantarum and some other species
2.    Processor of nutrients - Glucosinolates, sulfur, iodine  
3.    Producer of vitamins - vitamin C, B group vitamins
4.    Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, reduces free radicals, boosts immunity, reduces cholesterol, improves blood flow, repairs damaged cells, low in calorie
5.    Promoter of digestionrich in fiber, promotes digestion, constipation. It contains the antiulcer factor vitamin U thus helps with gastric ulcers,
6.    Protector of health – Acts as detoxifier, benefits nervous system, helps endocrine system, boosts energy, relieves painfully engorged breasts during breast feeding
7.    Terminator of cancer - Dr. Budwig advised her cancer patients to drink a glass of Sauerkraut juice every morning. It also lowers risk of colon cancer 

1 comment:

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