Fermented foods, nature’s probiotics

Did you know that fermented foods are rich in Probiotics (substances which stimulate the growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties)?  The good gut bacteria aid digestion, support immunity and provide energy and vitamins in the body. I cook food from scratch and incorporate fermented foods into our family’s diet throughout the day. My aim is to demystify the process and empower families to make it themselves at home.

I run fermentation demos regularly from my kitchen in Dublin, but also am happy to travel.  In the demo, I will cover sourdough bread, milk & water kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, labneh and more and provide you with all the starters necessary to commence at home.  In the meantime here is the recipe for my summer kraut, a beautiful fermented cabbage dish that is easy to make and is great with fish and BBQs

This is a variation on sauerkraut.  It is easy to make, tasty and most of off very nutritious using a method called lacto-fermentation.

1 head organic white cabbage
2 handfuls kale
1 bulb fennel
1 red onion
2 apples
1 handful mint
1/2 pineapple, chopped
Sea salt/ Himalayan salt (2-4 tsp)- see below
1 large mason jar and possible a medium jar

1. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. choose one, wash and keep aside. Discard the others.
2. Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor in batches.
3. Weigh the combined fruit and veg.
4. For every 500g veg, add 2 tsp salt.
5. Massage the salt in with your hands for 5 mins, until well mixed.
6. Leave to stand for min 30 mins to allow the juices to flow from the cabbage.
7. Press firmly into the clean mason jar. Push down really well to remove any air pockets. I find the end of the rolling pin works well for this.
8.Leave about 2cm air at the top.  Push down the washed leaf so it is below the liquid and seal the jar.
9. Leave to ferment for 10 – 14 days.
10. You can taste after about 10 days, if you are happy with the flavour and consistency then you can keep in the fridge.  If you like a stronger taste and a softer veg then you can keep it fermenting for another few days.

Serve on the side of many dishes, eg Fish, salads or BBQ food