Fermenting: Natural Bacteria and Gut Health

I am always looking for ways to help assist with my gut health, it’s an ongoing battle that I will probably always be dealing with. Like a lot of people, I don’t want to rely on prescriptions the rest of my life. I do realize and except the fact that, yes, there are times it is necessary for them. I am not anti medication at any point, it can be a very good thing. However, I would prefer not to rely on them to make myself feel better.

Basic Raw Sauerkraut

Basic Raw Sauerkraut

Since being diagnosed with UC I have tried multiple medications, I have removed gluten from my diet, I try my best to limit dairy and red meat. For the most part these simple diet changes have helped, but stress and other unknown circumstances will cause a flare leaving me in pain. I am a firm believer that foods will not necessarily cause but irritate. Why wouldn’t they? So after making and enjoying raw sauerkraut, I looked more into the benefits of fermenting and the good bacteria that will aid in gut health. And the experimentation and research begun!

I have only, to this date, made various sauerkraut, various flavors of water kefir, and a failed attempt at a ginger bug. But once my garden starts producing and the farmers markets start selling I plan on trying my hand and many other veggies.

Water Kefir Grains

Water Kefir Grains

I have gathered just a few resources that could help you in understanding the process and benefits, as well as some of recipes. I hope you find them as useful as I did!

If you are just starting, here are some great sites for the basics:

Cultures for Health (Lots of information and recipes on the blog)
Fermented Foods for Beginners – Nourishing Days
This is Grub (Supplies and information on water kefir and other foods)
Mastering Fermentation (Recipes, How To’s and resources)
Fermenting and Culturing – GNOWFGLINS (e-courses and various recipes and resources)

Beverages:

Water Kefir – Delicious Obsessions
Water Kefir – Nourished Kitchen
Sunshine Shot – Loula Natural
Root Beer Water Kefir – Common Sense Homesteading
Natural Ginger Ale – Wellness Mama
Beet Kvass – The Coconut Mama
Lacto-fermented Lemonade – Food Renegade

Here is my process for making Water Kefir: (using a 1-qt mason jar)

First Ferment: water kefir grains, 8 organic raisins, 2 tbsp organic cane sugar, filtered water: dissolve the sugar in the water, add the raisins and kefir grains. I cover with a coffee filter and only screw on the metal ring to hold the filter in place. Set in a warm place (away from any other ferments) for 48 hours.

Second Ferment: strain the grains, pouring the liquid into another jar. Flavor the kefir using fresh or thawed frozen fruit or fruit juices, seal tightly and let sit for another 24 to 48 hours. I found 24 hours was ideal for me when it came to using fruit, but 48 was good when using juices. Once opened store in the fridge and I tried to consume within 48 hours.

Veggies and Krauts:

How to Make Homemade Vegan Lacto Fermented Veggies – Choosing Raw
Crisp & Crunchy Lacto-Fermented Asparagus – Nourishing Joy
Pickled Garlic – Delicious Obsessions
Kimchi – Allergy Free Alaska

Rainbow Sauerkraut

Rainbow Sauerkraut

Here is my recipe for Rainbow Sauerkraut: (fills a 1-qt mason jar)
1/2 head organic red cabbage
1/2 head organic green cabbage
2-3 organic carrots
1-2 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tbsp Himalayan salt
1/4 cup filtered water

Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and set aside. Shred the cabbage and carrots, you can thinly cut or use a food processor; shred to your liking.  Place the shredded vegetables in a large bowl (try not to use stainless steal if at all possible), add the salt and caraway seeds, toss and gently squeeze to combine.  Stuff the vegetable mix into a jar, really pack it in, leaving about 3/4 to 1 inch.  Roll the outer leaves and pack on top of the shredded vegetables.  Add just a little water, enough to cover the shredded vegetables (may or may not be a whole 1/4 cup). Put the lid on the jar, tighten only to just tight, don’t over tighten the jar.  Place in a warm, darkish place (I stick it in the cabinet next to my refrigerator) and leave it alone for at least 3 weeks.  *If the pressure is really building up in the jar you can ‘burp’ it, just don’t remove the lid altogether.

Yogurts/Dairy

How to make yogurt – Nourishing Joy
Basic Fresh Goat Chevre – Mastering Fermentation
Milk Kefir – Delicious Obsessions
Coconut Milk Yogurt – Gutsy By Nature

Sauces/Condiment

Homemade Fish Sauce – Nourishing Joy
Homemade Lacto-Fermented Ketchup – Suzy Homemaker
Fermented Salsa – Tasty Yummies
Fermented Mustard – Eating Rules
Fermented Hot Chili Sauce – Nourished Kitchen

E-Books with lots of extra recipes and information:

Whole Food Family Favorites – Nourishing Joy (free)
Culture Your Life – Loula Natural
Culture for Health Free E-Books (Various topics)

Do you Ferment?
What is your favorite fermented food?

Plus check out my Pinterest board!

 

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