Healthy Eating

How to Make Fermented Foods at Home

Fermentation promotes the health of your entire digestive system.

How to Make Fermented Foods at Home
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Cultured cabbage salad with tarragon kefir dressing

This recipe combines three fermented elements into one healthy and amazing bowl.

For Salad:
1 large or 2 small heads of red cabbage, cored
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into pieces
2 beets, peeled and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 packet kefir culture starter (optional)

For Dressing:
1 cup plain low-fat kefir
2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seed oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon dried, crushed tarragon
1 pinch chipotle or cayenne pepper
1 pinch garlic powder

For Cultured Sunflower Seeds (optional):
1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1 small bowl of reduced-sodium tamari sauce

To make salad:
1. Remove 4 outer leaves from each head of cabbage; wash, dry and set aside for step 8.
2. Rinse remaining cabbage, apple and beets under cold water and drain.
3. Shred the cabbage, apple and beets in 2 batches in a food processor. Transfer the shredded mixture to a large bowl.
4. Add 3 to 4 cups of this shredded mixture into a blender.
5. Add 2 cups or more of filtered water and blend well to make a “brine” that’s the consistency of a thick vegetable juice. (For added safety, boil and cool the brine at this point.) If using culture starter, add it to the brine before returning the mixture to the bowl of apple and vegetables.
6. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Then, pack the mixture in a 2-quart glass jar that has been washed in hot, sudsy water and rinsed in hot water. Use a wooden dowel or a potato masher to pack the mixture tightly into the jar, so that the rim of the jar is 4 to 5 inches above the cabbage and the brine covers the cabbage by at least 2 inches.
7. Roll up the reserved cabbage leaves into tight “logs” and place them into the remaining space. Cover with an airtight lid so that oxygen cannot enter the jar.
8. Let stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees) for at least 4 days and up to 14 days, then refrigerate. Cabbage mixture will keep for at least 8 weeks in the refrigerator; it becomes sourer over time.

To make dressing:
Whisk all ingredients together and toss into salad.

To prepare seeds:
1. Place seeds in a glass jar and fill with water to one full inch above seeds. Drain and dry on paper towels. Place seeds in a bowl and toss with tamari.
2. Heat your oven to 225 F° degrees and spread seeds on a baking sheet to roast for 8 to 10 minutes until the seeds no longer stick together. Seeds will turn golden brown when ready.
3. Sprinkle seeds on salad right before you serve.

Serves 4. Per serving: 223 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 29 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 8 g fiber, 406 mg sodium.