For those of you who happen not to be sure what it is, in a few words, it's simply cut cabbage into thin threads, salted and pressed to get covered inside its own juice and let to ferment for a few months. Cabbage contains enough lactic acid bacteria for fermentation. The process behind is a little bit more complicated and we will get into that later in this article as well. It has a really long history of use in different parts of worlds and cultures. When it came to the modern Europe, it got especially popular by Germans and that is one of the reasons why it further spread under the name sauerkraut (sour cabbage in German).
If you know a little bit the German traditional kitchen, you could notice that sauerkraut forms part of most of their favorite meals. To mention just one of them, it would be the popular snack - Strasbourg sausage or frankfurters with potatoes. You can find it literally in every corner of German speaking countries.
In my home country - Slovakia, sauerkraut is especially popular as well, and the close location to Austria and Germany certainly further popularized this precious delicacy. It is said that any food that is already healthy, becomes a super-healthy food after fermentation. Cabbage, as we you all know contains vitamins especially high amounts of Vitamin C and B6. After that, it further gains other especially useful and healthy properties such as friendly bacteria and active enzymes, which significantly improve and ease the absorption of nutrients of all the food we eat. Furthermore, it serves as a magnificent preservation of its vitamins and the whole food stays healthy and edible for months on.
Does it work for eczema?
Here we can actually just repeat what applies to all fermented foods and drinks. The presence of different types of probiotic bacteria and enzymes helps digest your daily foods and thus alleviate eczema symptoms. The sauerkraut juice can also be used topically on the eczema.
Details of fermentation
The process of fermentation begins with Leuconostoc
mesenteroides. Being heterofermenters, they produce around 0.3% lactic acid, acetic acid
(vinegar), ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide (soda gas) and mannitol.
Three days later, Lactobacillus plantarum takes over the game and the acidity levels continue to increase. The ideal temperature at this moment for a faster fermentation is about 19-22° C. In contrast to the first bacteria, this one is a homofermenter and it produces only one compound. It simply feeds on sugars, which results in lactic acid.
After 15 days, Lactobacillus pentoaceticus ( L.brevis) continues to ferment until there is no sugar left and the fermentation ends.
Cabbage contains everything necessary for a growth of all kinds of bacteria: pH 7.0, water and sugar. To prevent growth of bad bacteria, we need to wash it, add salt and eliminate oxygen. The amount of salt from 1.5 to 2.5% is ideal. If added too much of salt would inhibit growth of all bacteria, and by adding too little salt would cause multiplication of the bad bacteria and thus spoil the whole food.
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