That is to say that the lessons that I have learned from sauerkraut are deep and numerous. First of all,I used to think I didn’t like the stuff. That grey sludge that people pile onto hot dogs at ball games… YUCK!
But then I tried the real stuff. Crunchy, vibrant pickled cabbage with little personal additions like caraway seeds, purple cabbage is my personal favourite, speckled with carrots or apple, even grated beet!
Cheap and cheerful probiotics
I learned about the probiotic and other health benefits of sauerkraut from CSNN, the Holistic Nutrition School where I graduated from here in Vancouver. It was being touted as the most inexpensive, absorbable form of probiotic and enzyme supplement anywhere. Well, sauerkraut was just the beginning. Traditional lacto-fermented pickles and kimchi are among the many other foods other than yogurt that are abundant in these essential and abundant bacteria.
Learning the craft
I learned how to make my own sauerkraut from the book ‘Wild Fermentation’ by Sandor Katz. I got advice from a surrogate German Grandfather, who gave me his crock, and the beautiful Kraut Cutter you see in the photo. I learned how to make small batches too, handy for apartment living. My
sauerkraut is different than Opa’s, because I don’t have a root cellar, and because I get my cabbage from the store or the farmer’s market, not from one big harvest. My motivation for making sauerkraut started for health reasons, but I have discovered an ancient skill, an interesting food-science project and a kind of quirky hobby. I have been continually learning from my students as I teach these classes. People, usually a generation older than me who have vague memories of ferments growing on the counters and root cellars in their family homes.
Soon I was so hooked on the stuff, that I wanted to spread the word far and wide. It’s so easy to make! It just takes understanding a little about bacteria and fermentation, a natural process that everything undergoes at some point in its life.
And so, teaching a fermented foods class was the very first class that I was inspired to teach. Since 2008 I have been refining, revising and polishing the fermented foods class and it is still among my favourite class to teach! I am so deeply inspired about the transformative action of the food- from cabbage and salt to this sour, tangy vegetable ferment! My health has likewise undergone a transformation! From sugar addict and dis-glycemic, low immunity, I have found immense healing power in fermented foods like sauerkraut!