But it has to be unpasteurized (Don't heat it above ~130 degrees F. either.) - Or else all those species of beneficial Lactobacillus will sacrifice their lives for a sterile kraut.
As a source for probiotics, fermented cabbage is a great alternative to fermented dairy foods. And the levels of good bacteria are typically higher in raw sauerkraut than in cultured milk products.
Sauerkraut is also high in vitamin C:
"In 1776, Captain James Cook was awarded the Copley Medal for demonstrating that sauerkraut could be used to allay scurvy in British crews on long sea voyages."And it's proving a good source of compounds (e.g. isothiocyanates) that have been shown to protect against the DNA damage that can lead to cancer, as well as to cause cancer cells to self-destruct and/or limit their growth if they are present. These compounds1 are especially protective for breast, colon, lung, and liver tissue. Two supporting studies:
- Wikipedia: Sauerkraut
Plant-Derived Biomolecules in Fermented Cabbage, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2002I found this vibrantly-colored fermented red cabbage* in the refrigerated section of a little health store near me. Neither Whole Foods nor any of the conventional grocery stores in my area carried a raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut. Hm. I wonder what our food safety guru, Bill Marler, would say about this.
Dietary Indoles and Isothiocyanates That Are Generated from Cruciferous Vegetables Can Both Stimulate Apoptosis and Confer Protection against DNA Damage in Human Colon Cell Lines, Cancer Research, 2001
Until then ... it's terribly good cold in a salad, or mixed with marinated cucumbers as a side dish. I've also had it tossed with warm sautéed onions. Mmmm! Any more ideas you have on how to serve it are welcome!
* Ingredients: Organic Northeast-grown Red Cabbage, Filtered Water, Unrefined Sea Salt, Org. Thyme, Org. Winter Savory, Org. Marjoram.
Source for idea: Melinda.