Monday, May 11, 2009

Sauerkraut is a health food

I came across an article a while interview with some older folks who grew up during the depression on farms. I don't know if the people were of German heritage or not but most had crocks of homemade sauerkraut in their roor cellars. A number of people said that they would sneak into the cellar and sip off some of the sauerkraut juice. Tastes have surely changed!! Some wouldn't drink it on their own but were forced to drink some as a tonic. I googled "the health benefits of sauerkraut juice" and read up on it. So I bought a jar of sauerkraut and tried it...but the sauerkraut was really gross. And I didn't try anymore recipes. But I found a recipe that looked good and decided to give it another shot today. It's not the kind of thing I would want all the time, but it was good, in a weird sort of way... and the dogs really like sauerkraut...who would have guessed??

So, after reading an article I've learned that sauerkraut is a health food powerhouse. This is what it said:

Sauerkrauts Specific Health Benefits
1. Sauerkraut as immune booster
One of the not so secret benefits of sauerkraut is the boost it gives to immune systems. Packed with vitamins andminerals, sauerkraut has been used as a lay immune booster for centuries.Sauerkraut contains phytochemicals which are created during the fermentation process. These naturally occurring, beneficial by products of sauerkraut help boost the immune system which leads to a decrease in a number of health problems. The common cold, skin problems, weight gain and tainted blood are all fixed by a healthy functioning immune system.
2. Sauerkraut as cancer fighter
The most recent evidence of sauerkraut's status as a Superfood is found in numerous studies on the cruciferous wonder's cancer fighting properties. The results of a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concluded that sauerkraut is a cancer inhibitor. The study discovered that the fermentation of cabbage produced a substance called isothiocynates, which prevents cancer growth, particularly in the breast, colon, lung and liver. Although raw cabbage is normally rich in a compound called glucosinolate, the researchers found that during the fermentation process enzymes are released that completely decompose the compound into several breakdown products. The majority of these products are cancer-fighting isothiocyanates. The University of New Mexico published a study linking sauerkraut consumption by adolescent females to a reduced risk for breast cancer earlier studies indicate sauerkraut may reduce the risk for other forms of cancer including lung, colon, prostate, and liver We are finding that fermented cabbage could be healthier than raw or cooked cabbage, especially for fighting cancer, says Eeva-Liisa Ryhanen, Ph.D., research manager of MTT Agrifood Research Finland, located in Jokioinen, Finland. A recent study by the American Center for Cancer Research has found that sauerkraut has a profound effect in preventing and healing breast cancer. Based on reports that breast cancer rates amongst polish women in the United States were much higher than those in Poland researchers set out to find out why. Their answer; the women who still lived in Poland ate significantly larger amounts of sauerkraut especially important while they were in adolescence. The research found that the women who immigrated Americanized' their diets and stopped eating as much of the super food that is sauerkraut thus increasing their rates of breast cancer.

3. Digestive Aid
Eating sauerkraut is a great way to protect the balance of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Sauerkraut is one of the few foods that contain the bacterium Lactobacilli plantarum. L. planatarum is a very dominant strain of healthful bacteria which helps your digestive system in the following ways: boost the immune system by increasing antibodies that fight infectious disease help inhibit pathogenic organisms including E.coli, salmonella and unhealthy overgrowth of candida (yeast) create antioxidants (glutathione and superoxide dismustase) that scavenge free radicals which are a cancer precursor transforms hard-to-digest lactose from milk to the more easily digested lactic acid. It neutralizes the antinutrients found in many foods including the phytic acid found in all grains and the trypsin-inhibitors in soy generates new nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, digestive aids and the trace mineral GTF chromium. These various properties are the best scientific reasons given for what has been known by loyal users for millennia, sauerkraut cures an upset stomach and is the best natural physic there is. Many sources say raw fermented foods are beneficial to the digestive system by increasing the healthy flora in the intestinal tract or creating the type of environment for them to flourish. Sauerkraut and its juice are traditional folk remedies for constipation. Fermentation actually increases nutrient values in the cabbage, especially vitamin C. Fermented foods are also said to facilitate the breakdown and assimilation of proteins. They have a soothing effect on the nervous system. The benefits of sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice have been recognized for generations. In some families of southern Germany, the children are fed raw sauerkraut twice weekly to support their intestines. Today it is thought that these benefits may relate to a high proportion of lactic acid in sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice that naturally supports the digestive processes, maintain intestinal flora, and increase the feeling of well-being.

4. Flu Fighter
With the spread of Avian Flu spreading across the globe, one enterprising Korean scientist, Kang Sa-Ouk of Seoul National University, took 13 chickens infected with avian flu virus and a couple of other diseases, fed them Kim chi extract and found that 11 of the birds recovered. Experts think the vital bacteria are created during the fermenting process and this gives the dish its health-boosting qualities.

So this is the recipe I used it in today. It was good…strange, but good. But first, the rye bread recipe to go with it.

German Dark Rye Bread

3 cups bread flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 pkgs. Yeast
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. salt
2 cups water
½ cup honey
2 tbsp. butter
3 ½ cups rye flour
8 tsp. vital wheat gluten

Place white flour, cocoa, yeast, caraway seeds, gluten, and salt in a large bowl. Stir to mix. Place water, honey and butter in a saucepan and heat until butter melts. When this liquid mixture registers 105-115 degrees, add to dry ingredients and mix until moistened, then beat very ahrd for 3 minutes. Stir in rye flour, enough to make a soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Roll out to shape to fit greased loaf pans. Brush tops lightly with oil and cover with a damp cloth. Raise in unheated oven over a pan of hot water for 1 hour until doubled. Punch down and allow to rise again until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven immediately remove from pans; let cool on racks. Yield: 2 loaves.

I felt like the crust was way too thick…maybe I was supposed to leave the water in the oven through the cook time…it didn’t really say so maybe that’s where I went wrong.

Country Pork Ribs and Sauerkraut

4 lbs boneless pork ribs
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons oil (you may need more)
2 (14 ounce) cans sauerkraut
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

1. trim as much fat as possible off pork.
2. put flour zip lock bag add pork & shake well to coat.
3. heat 2 tbsp oil in stock pot.
4. add pork & brown on both sides remove pork from pot(may need to do this in 2 batches,adding more oil if needed).
5. slice onions then cut in half once mince garlic & saute with onion until translucent(again you may need to add more oil).
6. add undrained sauerkraut, undrained pineapple, bay leaves, & caraway seeds.
7. return pork.
8. mix gently but, well.
9. cover & simmer slowly for 3 hours.
10. If the liquid evaporates to quickly turn down heat & add some water, it should stay slightly watery.
11. gently remove pork & place on serving tray then remove sourkraut & place next to pork.
12. salt and pepper (you don't need much salt).
13. serve with boiled potatoes


Valerie said...

You always prove you are a braver eater than I am. I am willing to try some healthy food, but not sauerkraut. :) That rye bread looks really good and I never knew it had cocoa in it. Does it always?

Tiff :o) said...

Dark rye bread has cocoa but the medium and light ones don't. I don't know what make the two latter ones different. This is my first try at making rye bread so it needs some tweaking but it did have a good taste. My favoritte rye bread is from Cheesecake Factory...I want to be able to make a loaf like theirs.

Stella Andes said...

Sure was interesting to find out all the health benefits of sauerkraut! I should make some rye bread for the next time we have patty melts -- or not. Seems like I never have the time lately to do anything.

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