Recipe For a Healthy Immune System
This post is, in fact, a recipe. For food. I plan to continue to share recipes with you, and especially recipes for cultured foods. I personally eat cultured foods every day, and I recommend this practice to all my clients. And, since cultured foods are not so prominently featured in the typical western diet, I plan to also continue to share tidbits I learn about why these foods are so wonderful.
Right now, in your own body, bacteria, yeasts, and other microbial cells outnumber your human cells by about 9 to 1! We have a lot to learn about our tiny microbial inhabitants; but more research is being done all the time. We do know that keeping the good gut bacteria healthy is a great boon to the human immune system. I recently found this article (click here to read it) about the 3 different kinds of gut bacteria that have been discovered in people.
This topic fascinates me because it offers a new perspective on health and healing. If we can find ways of nourishing and supporting our trillions of friendly visitors, they will be healthier and the good ones will outnumber the harmful varieties. Since lacto-fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria, eating these foods is one way we know of to support our gut health.
The recipe I made yesterday is one of my favorites to have on hand at all times. It goes well with fish, meats, beans, and lots of different veggies. It’s perfect for this time of year, when gardens everywhere are producing lots of cabbage, peppers, and onions.
I chopped all these ingredients and placed them in a large bowl to mix. Then, I crammed them into a quart jar, a little at a time so that I could squish the veggies with a fist and lightly salt every couple of inches.
When there was still about 1 1/2 inches of space at the top, I added about 6 tablespoons of brine from a previous batch, then filled the rest of the jar with plain water, to within about 1/2 inch of the top. (The space is needed because everything expands a bit as it ferments.)
Finally, I sealed the jar with a lid and set it in a little tray on my back porch. The tray will catch the liquid that will seep out. There are other ways of creating a culture, and I will be sharing more about this in future posts. For now, if you do not have a previous batch to get you started, never fear!
Whey is a fantastic for inoculating your culture. If you do not want to use whey, just use a little more salt to prevent mold growing. The bacteria are already around- you just want to keep the right kind multiplying while you inhibit the bad guys. Also, if you use only salt, you’ll have to be a little more patient. It could take up to 3-4 weeks to get a nice sour taste. Just open up your jar and taste! My pepper sauerkraut should be ready in about a week. I’ll let you know.