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Cabbages and Sauerkraut

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Cabbages

We have an amazing crop of beautiful cabbages in the fields right now. Crinkly round savoy and stunning purple and green January King. We like to chop them finely and sauté them in butter and just a little water, with maybe a wee spicy chilli chopped up in there as well. So much nicer than your granny’s boiled for an hour! Do you have any recipes or tips for cooking cabbage?

Nicola, who works in the shop and writes most of our recipes has been experimenting with making sauerkraut. Have you heard of it?

It’s a very old method of preserving vegetables, usually cabbage, which has been shown to actually have even more nutritional value than raw cabbage. How can that be? Well, it turns out that by allowing the naturally-occurring “good” (lactic-acid) bacteria to ferment the thinly sliced vegetable, the micro-nutrients become more easily available to the body.

The dietary fibre in cabbage is useful in maintaining gut health, and sauerkraut is particularly helpful for sufferers of cramping and bloating.

Sauerkraut is produced by creating conditions favourable to the lactic acid bacteria, so that they multiply and overwhelm any undesirable bacteria present which would otherwise spoil the vegetables. This is done by chopping up the cabbage very fine and sprinkling it with salt.  This draws out the water and creates a brine. Packing the salted cabbage into a sealed jar allows the fermentation to take place over about a week, and when it’s done it will keep in the fridge for three to four weeks.

The fermentation gives it an acidic flavour which Nicola says goes well with sliced cooked meats and sausages. Another way to get one of your five a day!

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