Pete Evans and Dr. Mercola recently joined forces and created a new cookbook, “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook.” In this book you’ll discover easy and delicious recipes, along with practical tips on how to follow a ketogenic eating plan. CLICK HERE to order your copy now.
German cuisine is often thought to be stodgy because the country lacked a variety of crops to grow until the last 200 years. As a result, Germans have often adopted the cooking methods of nearby nations, but added their own twist to it. Most often, their dishes are made using traditional preparations such as curing and pickling to prolong foods’ shelf life and make them readily available to the people.1
One German dish that has become popular around the world is sauerkraut, which literally translates to “sour cabbage.” Interestingly, this dish originated in China over 2,000 years ago. Historians believe that workers who built the Great Wall of China began fermenting cabbage using rice wine so they would have something to eat during the nongrowing season. Afterward, Genghis Khan conquered China and brought the recipe to Europe as he was expanding his empire.2
Sauerkraut today is typically made using salt and a mixture of spices to add more flavor. However, adding a starter culture to the ingredients can boost the health benefits immensely due to its many different probiotic strains. In this sauerkraut recipe from Pete Evans, who co-wrote my latest book with me, the “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook,” this concept is very much followed. I heartily recommend you give this German dish a try, as it can complement a lot of foods, especially cooked meats.
Classic Sauerkraut Recipe With Spices
- You will need a sterilized preserving jar (1.5 liters or 1 quart; you will have some filling left over) with an airlock lid for this recipe. You will also need to sterilize the knife, spoon, chopping board and glass or stainless steel bowl and jug you will be using. To do this, wash the jar and utensils thoroughly in very hot water or run them through a hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher.
- Place the cloves in a small piece of muslin, tie into a bundle with kitchen string and set aside.
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Choose one of the outer leaves, wash well and set aside.
- Shred the cabbage and apple in a food processor with a shredding attachment, or use a mandolin or knife to chop by hand.
- Transfer the cabbage and apple to a large glass or stainless steel bowl and sprinkle over the salt and allspice. Mix well, cover and set aside.
- Dissolve the starter culture in water according to the packet instructions (the amount of water will depend on the brand you are using). Add to the cabbage along with the bag of cloves, cinnamon, orange and radish and gently mix.
- Fill the prepared jar with the cabbage mixture, pressing down well with a large spoon or potato masher to remove any air pockets. Leave 2 centimeters (0.78 inch) of room free at the top. The cabbage mixture should be completely submerged in the liquid, so add more water if necessary.
- Fold up the reserved cabbage leaf and place it on top of the mixture, then add a small glass weight (a shot glass is ideal) to keep everything submerged. Close the lid, then wrap a tea towel around the side of the jar to block out the light.
- Store the jar in a dark place with a temperature of 60 to 73 degrees for 10 to 14 days. (You can place the jar in a cooler to maintain a more consistent temperature.)
- The longer you leave the jar, the higher the level of good bacteria present and the tangier the flavor.
- Chill before eating. Once opened, the sauerkraut will last for up to two months in the fridge submerged in the liquid. If unopened, it will keep for up to nine months in the fridge.
Cabbage Is the Foundation of Sauerkraut
Cabbage is a versatile vegetable, as it can be used in salads, soups and countless other dishes. Furthermore, it is a healthy food in its own right. Among cruciferous vegetables, cabbage contains some of the most powerful antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, thiocyanates and sulforaphane. Research has shown that these compounds may help lower your risk of several types of cancer and manage healthy cholesterol levels.
In addition, cabbage is rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that can help with proper bone metabolism, as well as limit neuronal damage in your brain, thereby lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It is also rich in dietary fiber that may help promote a healthy digestive tract by promoting regular bowel elimination.
Probiotics Can Support Your Overall Well-Being in Many Ways
Fermented vegetables are loaded with probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can provide a wealth of benefits to your system. Aside from fresh produce, milk is another food that’s commonly fermented, with yogurt being one of the most popular derivatives. I strongly recommend that you consume probiotic-rich foods regularly because they help reseed your gut flora. Research has shown that these beneficial bacteria may help with the following:
Immune system enhancement
Reduced risk of bacterial infections and other stomach-related diseases caused by microbes
Improvement of symptoms of lactose intolerance
Reduced instances of developing constipation or diarrhea
Improvement of premenstrual syndrome
Improved mental health, mood control and behavior
Weight management (found in other fermented vegetables)
One other notable benefit I’d like to highlight about fermenting is that it can improve the nutritional value of your food. Research shows that sauerkraut is a good high-fiber, low-calorie source of vitamin C with 1 cup providing 35 percent of the USDA’s daily recommendations for vitamin C. It also is a good source of folate, vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.3
Spices Add More Nutrients and Flavor to the Recipe
Once you’ve fermented your vegetables, don’t just stop there. You can improve the taste further by adding a variety of spices, allowing you to explore your creativity and taste. In this recipe, several spices are used, namely:
- Cloves: These are basically dried flower buds from the Syzygium aromaticum tree, and are known for their sweet and earthy taste. In terms of health benefits, they contain eugenol, a compound that has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that may help fight infection.
- Allspice: This spice comes from dried berries of the Pimenta dioica plant, and plays a huge role in Jamaican jerk chicken.4 Its flavor combines cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and is known for aiding digestion, boosting immunity and improving blood circulation.5
- Cinnamon: This spice adds a sweet, woody scent to your sauerkraut. In addition, it’s rich in manganese, a mineral that plays a role in various biological processes. It is known to help improve bone strength, regulate blood sugar levels, support strong connective tissues and promote healthy brain function.
Make Sure to Use High-Quality Ingredients for This Recipe
When fermenting your cabbage, make it a point to use a high-quality probiotic that contains various strains to ensure that your gut flora is able to flourish and diversify. Lastly, don’t forget to use organic produce to help minimize your risk of ingesting toxins and other chemicals that are common among conventionally produced ingredients.
About Pete Evans
Pete Evans is an internationally renowned chef who has joined forces with Dr. Mercola to create a healthy cookbook that’s loaded with delicious, unique Keto recipes, ideal for people who want to switch to a ketogenic diet. The “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook” is the perfect tool to help get you started on your ketogenic journey. CLICK HERE to order your copy now.
Pete has had numerous noteworthy contributions to the culinary world. He has not only cooked for the general public, but he’s also cooked a royal banquet for the Prince and Princess of Denmark, a private dinner for Martha Stewart, and even represented his hometown at the gala GʼDay USA dinner for 600 in New York City.
Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle channel’s “Home” show, “Postcards from Home,” “FISH,” “My Kitchen Rules” and “A Moveable Feast.”
+ Sources and References