Suppression

Sauerkraut

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

 

Sauerkraut "sour cabbage", is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf-life and a distinctive sour flavour, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage. And it has healing capabilities.

Background

 

Sauerkraut is made by a process of pickling called lacto-fermentation. The cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt and left to ferment. Fermentation by lactobacilli is introduced naturally, as these air-borne bacteria are found on raw cabbage leaves where they grow. Yeasts also are present, and may yield soft sauerkraut of poor flavour when the fermentation temperature is too high. The fermentation process has three stages.

  • In the first phase, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter lead the fermentation, and begin producing an acidic environment that favours later bacteria.
  • The second phase starts as the acid levels become too high for many bacteria, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. take dominance.
  • In the third phase, various Lactobacillus species, including L. brevis and L. plantarum, ferment any remaining sugars, further lowering the pH.

Properly cured sauerkraut is sufficiently acidic to prevent a favorable environment for the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the toxins of which cause botulism.

Method

 

Fully cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight container stored at 15 °C (60 °F) or below. Neither refrigeration nor pasteurization is required or a good idea as it tends to destroy some of the beneficial contents.

In Germany, sauerkraut is often flavored with juniper berries, which have their own health benefits. Traditionally sauerkraut is served with pork, but it is delicious with simple hot sausages, ham, gammon and in salads.  It is good with cheese, on baked potato with sour cream and with apples cooked and raw.  It is also tasty with raisins added and nuts.

It is best to drain the sauerkraut before serving, as since salt is used in the pickling process, sauerkraut may be very high in sodium, which can increase short-term water retention. Draining helps reduce the salt content, however, be careful with quantities.

Excessive consumption of sauerkraut "may lead to bloating and flatulence due to the trisaccharide raffinose, which the human small intestine cannot break down"

How it works

 

Sauerkrautn heals.  The following table shows the nutritional content of sauerkraut. Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient Database 

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy

78 kJ (19 kcal)

Carbohydrates

4.3 g

- Sugars

1.8 g

- Dietary fibre

2.9 g

Fat

0.14 g

Protein

0.9 g

Water

92 g

Vitamin B6

0.13 mg (10%)

Vitamin C

15 mg (18%)

Iron

1.5 mg (12%)

Sodium

661 mg (44%)

Many health benefits have been identified for sauerkraut.

  • Vitamins - It is extremely high in vitamins C, B, and K; the fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage. James Cook always took a store of sauerkraut on his sea voyages, since experience had taught him it prevented scurvy.

  • Minerals - It is low in calories and high in calcium and magnesium, and it is a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese.

  • IBS - If unpasteurized and uncooked, sauerkraut also contains live lactobacilli and beneficial microbes and is rich in enzymes. The fiber and supply of probiotics improve digestion and promote the growth of healthy bowel flora, protecting against many diseases of the digestive tract.

  • Ulcers - Sauerkraut has been used in Europe for centuries to treat stomach ulcers, and "its effectiveness for soothing the digestive tract has been well established by numerous studies".

  • Sores - Sauerkraut is a time-honored folk remedy for canker sores. It is used by rinsing the mouth with sauerkraut juice for about 30 seconds several times a day, or by placing a wad of sauerkraut against the affected area for a minute or so before chewing and swallowing the kraut.

  • Eye health - Sauerkraut is high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, both associated with preserving ocular health. 

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