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Fermented Cabbage or Probiotics of the Olden Days

I hope you wouldn’t hate me if I mention cabbage one more time because we can write the entire book using cabbage as the main ingredient, and still it won’t be enough to describe all that this incredible vegetable can share with us.  I imagine you know a lot about probiotics.  They are extremely important for our digestive system.  Sometimes probiotics are called “good” bacteria that helps to line the gut and help the body absorb the nutrients.  

Our bodies are housing trillions of microorganisms outnumbering the number of cells they are made of.  Some of them are the “good guys” and some of them are not the best.  It is impossible to get rid of those “bad guys” entirely; however, it’s possible to bring in the army of “good” bacteria to protect our health.  And for that we need to take probiotics.  I often wonder how people took probiotics when the labs were not available and scientists were not aware of such phenomena.  The answer is people may not have known such a fancy word; however, they were always relying on fermented food that contained various strains of probiotics.  

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One such food is fermented cabbage which was used quite a lot in Eastern Europe especially during lent and throughout the winter.  It could be used alone, in salads and even in cooking.  You can substitute fresh cabbage with fermented cabbage in sauteed cabbage dish, just don’t add salt.  Simply adding chopped onion and a little bit of olive or sunflower oil can help you make a scrumptious salad in a few minutes.  If you want to be fancy you can make a beet salad.  Just boil a few potatoes, a carrot and one beet until tender.  Let the vegetables cool down, peel them, chop them, mix them in a bowl.  Add a handful of fermented cabbage, half a chopped onion, a can of sweet peas(optional), a dash of salt, pepper and a tablespoon of olive or sunflower oil and you have another delicious salad that can add color to your table.  Now I would love to share the recipe of fermented cabbage with you.  First you’d probably need a cabbage or two.  You’ll also need carrots, salt, sugar and cranberries if you like to make it more piquant.  The steps are pretty easy to follow.  

Shred the cabbages

Peel and grate the carrots(you can use up to 10 carrots if you like your fermented cabbage more colorful)

Mix grated carrots with 1 or 2 bags of fresh cranberries and shredded cabbage

Take a large pot that you won’t need for the next few weeks.  

Place a layer of mixed vegetables

Sprinkle a tablespoon or more of salt on top the first layer distributing evenly and if you like you can sprinkle a little bit of sugar as well.  

Repeat the steps until you used all the ingredients

Cover it with a smaller size lid and place a heavy weight on top of it to let it ferment.

Leave the pot in the kitchen for 7-10 days or until ready.  

After two days you would have to open a pot and poke it in a few places to let the gas out.  Cover with the lid and heavy weight again. Repeat the same procedure every 2 days.  

Once the fermented cabbage is ready it will become crunchy and will taste slightly sour and salty.

Transfer the contents into a glass container and keep it refrigerated.  

Enjoy your probiotics,

MillagroFlora Team

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