Sauerkraut has a long and distinguished history in the cuisine of traditional cultures.
Sauerkraut means ‘sour cabbage’ in German, but it’s not actually German at all. It is often thought of as a German invention, but research has shown that Chinese laborers actually consumed it while building the Great Wall.
Apparently, the Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago were the first to begin fermenting shredded cabbage in rice wine as a means of making it last longer. It was only when Ghenghis Khan brought sauerkraut to Europe (1,000 years later) that it became what is now considered a national dish in Germany.
It wasn’t until the 16th century that the art of sauerkraut-making became popular. This is still how sauerkraut is made today. The Germans began dry-curing cabbage with salt to extract its water, then allowing the mixture to ferment. This turned the sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid which acted as a preservative.
As with other fermented foods, the fermentation process has several benefits. The cabbage becomes more easily digestible, and the bacteria that grow in the sauerkraut help us to build our immunity and improve digestion.
It was even found to reduce the incidence of scurvy in Dutch seamen, which is why Captain James Cook began serving it up to his crew. Later, the early German and Dutch settlers brought their sauerkraut recipes to the Americas. This led to a New Year's Day tradition: a meal of pork and sauerkraut was believed to bring good luck for the coming year.
Seakraut is a new and even healthier version of sauerkraut. Seaweed is one of the richest natural sources of iodine, which is a key component of the thyroid hormone.
Iodine has also been shown to prevent congenital hypothyroidism, which is a leading cause of intellectual disabilities around the world. In fact, iodine has a huge range of benefits for thyroid health, mental function, metabolism, energy levels, and protection against radiation poisoning.
Seaweed is known as one the best sources of dietary iodine there is. Including seaweed in your meals will increase the nutrient density of your food and give your body the nutritional support that it needs.
This version of sauerkraut contains added seaweed that make it into a "seakraut".
Seaweeds are fiber- rich, full of healthy minerals and highly digestible. Because of their abundance of minerals and phytonutrients, seaweeds are considered to be among the most nutritious of all vegetables.
There are many kinds of seaweeds that can be used for seakraut. If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, you can source your own seaweed. Otherwise, it can be purchased online or at various health stores.
The ingredient list is short: cabbage, seaweed, and salt. Some recipes may call for adding aromatics like garlic or herbs, but this is entirely up to you. The fermentation process is what provides seakraut with its health benefits and its flavor.
The lactic acid that is produced via fermentation is rich in nutrients. It’s also rich in probiotic bacteria. When you eat seakraut, these healthy bacteria provide a variety of nutritional benefits and improve the microbial balance of your gut.
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