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gut health

Ginger-Turmeric Sauerkraut

TIME: 20 MINUTES, plus ~1 week fermentation; SERVES: 1 QUART

I add a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut to almost every meal I eat. Purchasing living, small-batch ‘kraut can run you upwards of $8, but making it can cost as little as $1 (and it’s more fun to see it bubbling happily in your kitchen!) I love this recipe primarily for its vibrant color and flavor. However, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and digestive-aid from ginger are definitely a plus. Don’t forget to include a few grinds of fresh black pepper to fully assimilate the benefits of turmeric.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds green cabbage (1 medium head) cored and finely chopped or shaved on a mandolin
1 tbls. + 1 tsp. kosher salt (non-iodized)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes (opt.)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1/2 - 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated (or 1/2 - 1 tsp. ground)

METHOD

  1. Combine cabbage and salt in a bowl. Massage for about 5 minutes until juices are released and the cabbage significantly decreases in volume. *A general salt ratio is about 2 tsp. per pound of cabbage. You want the cabbage to be too salty to eat enjoyably, but not inedible. Add more salt if necessary, and taste often. If you add an excess of salt, the ‘kraut will not ferment because it will inhibit all bacteria growth—good and bad. If you add too little, funky bacteria can infect your batch and turn it soggy or gross.

  2. Once you’re confident with the salt ratio, add the remaining ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. Pack into a quart-sized mason jar. There should be plenty of natural brine to cover the cabbage if you massaged enough.

  4. Weigh down the cabbage so it is fully submerged by the brine. I like to use Masontops glass pickle weights. You can also use a clean rock or a smaller jar.

  5. You can cover with a clean cloth & rubber band (so fruit flies can’t get in), but it’s worth investing in pickle pipes! (Also available at Masontops). These silicone airlocks allow pressure to vent without exposure to oxygen. Make sure to place your jar on a plate to catch the brine that bubbles out.

  6. Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Depending on temperature, you will notice your ‘kraut bubbling in a day or two. Let it do its thing, making sure the cabbage is still submerged in brine for 5 - 7 days. Taste often. Once it is pleasantly sour and no longer too salty, remove the weight and transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. Will keep for months, although I’m sure you’ll be whipping up another batch in no time.

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut

Pastured-Chicken Bone Broth

TIME: 8 - 12 HOURS; SERVES: 4+ QUARTS

I’m fortunate enough to share a property with some of the best growers of pastured pork and chicken. This is essential when making bone broth: that the source is the purest one you can find. You’ve probably heard of the benefits of bone broth and its almost “miracle-working” hype. Essentially, it’s the product of animal bones (chicken, beef, pork, etc.), acid (apple cider vinegar) and vegetables/seasonings, cooked on low for many hours. The bones themselves eventually break down into collagen, essential amino acids and necessary vitamins & minerals. This causes the ‘gel’ effect when cooled, similar to a rich gravy, or pan drippings.

After contracting a digestive parasite several years ago, bone broth was the only thing I could ingest without feeling terrible. From this experience, I do believe it has a great capacity to heal and nourish. When I’m feeling under the weather—especially from a stomach bug—bone broth is the golden elixir that brings life back into my being. I love it as a warming mid-day snack with lemon and salt, or first thing in the morning to jump start my digestive system. I also use it as stock for any soup, stew, or gravy. Bone broth is the perfect way to transform kitchen scraps into a nutritious & versatile staple.

If you have a crock pot, this is a great way to put it to use. If you prefer cooking on the stove top, I sometimes leave a pot covered, on the lowest heat overnight, and in the morning have a delicious savory treat to sip on. Make a habit of buying whole chickens (or stew birds!) and saving the carcasses in your freezer. Adding chicken feet is particularly useful in getting the most gelatin & collagen into your broth. Once I have enough carcasses or chicken parts to fill a large soup pot, I’ll make a big batch of broth and freeze it in plastic quarts or bags.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken bones, enough to fill half of a large soup pot (necks, back, feet, etc.). After roasting a whole bird (Buttermilk-Marinated Roast Chicken!) I’ll put the carcass into the freezer for easy prep.
A few glugs apple cider vinegar
A couple bay leaves
1 tbls. black peppercorns
The following veggies are optional:
1 bunch parsley with stems
A few carrots with tops
A few stalks celery with leaves, or 1 - 2 celeriac, chopped
1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
1 - 2 onions, unpeeled, cut in half
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Place the chicken bones/parts in the soup pot, enough to fill 1/4 - 1/2 way to the top.

  2. Pile all the other goodies in, except the salt & lemon.

  3. Fill with just enough filtered water to cover. Add the vinegar.

  4. Turn the heat on medium-high and let slowly reach a steady boil. It’s important to keep an eye on the broth before it boils to skim off the brown scum that will rise to the top. This scum is filled with impurities and should be discarded.

  5. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat to very low, cover, and let simmer for 8 - 12 hours.

  6. Let cool, then strain. Everything left behind should be very mushy and flavorless. This is okay to compost.

  7. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste.

  8. Let cool completely, and place in glass jars in the fridge, or plastic containers / quart bags in the freezer.

Crock Pot:

  1. Place all ingredients in the crock pot, and set on low for 8 - 12 hours.

  2. Follow the remaining steps for straining and storage.

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