The traditional fermenting of pickles involved covering baby cucumbers with water, adding salt, and allowing them to ferment at room temperature for several days. When ready, the pickles would be literally bubbling with live bacteria created by the naturally occurring sugars in the vegetables.
Unfortunately, most commercial pickled products (especially sauerkraut and cucumber pickles) are made using vinegar, which doesn’t allow the natural fermentation of the vegetables. In fact, vinegar kills off both good AND bad bacteria.
Sauerkraut is one of the world’s most commonly used fermented foods. Like kimchi, it’s a type of fermented cabbage. It’s even easier to make than yogurt and kefir, because you don’t need a starter culture. The cabbage comes ‘pre-loaded’ with the bacteria it needs to ferment itself.
If you buy sauerkraut in the supermarket, make sure it’s the ‘raw’ or ‘unpasteurized’ form – not canned! Modern production methods mean that much of the sauerkraut you see on the shelves has been stripped of all its probiotic goodness. The food is pasteurized before being canned or jarred, destroying all the billions of beneficial bacteria that it contains. If you can’t find a raw sauerkraut at your store, try local markets or health food stores instead, and look for locally produced fermented foods.
Sauerkraut is highly beneficial for the immune system, providing the nutrients that help your body to fight off Candida overgrowth. In fact, sauerkraut was once used on long sea voyages where vitamin C deficiency was traditionally a problem; it keeps longer than other vegetables and provided a healthy source of nutrients even after many months at sea.