Part of my self care is taking care of my gut. I have a tendency towards yeast overgrowth** and I am very bad at maintaining my gut flora. A friend is starting a business making freaking awesome sauerkraut. He ferments it for months before refrigerating it to slow the bacteria. I know several people who get regular supplies from him and, by eating a bite or two 2-3 times a day, they have completely lost all signs of IBS. It’s all about your symbiotic relationships.

Today I have taken a huge step and made my own sauerkraut. The kid at the grocery store was confused because I bought 4 heads of green cabbage, some napa cabbage and some bok choy.

I can’t remember who all I have talked to in the comments about it, but here are some very good instructions on making your own. I’m really kind of amazed that 1 3/4 pounds of stuff, salted and squeezed, is exactly enough to cram in a quart size mason jar.

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So I ended up with 3 jars of regular cabbage: 1 I just through in caraway seeds and fennel because that’s what my Dad said he liked; 1 with garlic, carrots, and ginger; and 1 with lots of garlic.

I also have chopped napa cabbage and bok choy in the fridge mixed with garlic and ginger. Tomorrow I’ll get some green onions and radish and make a kimchi-ish jar. I’ve been saving small jars from the pesto sauce we eat because I think I’m about to become a supplier for the rest of my family.

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I’ve also been working on fermented pickles. (I’m sworn to secrecy on the recipe I used, but, when in doubt, Alton usually knows what he’s talking about.) I served them at family dinner on Saturday and my Mom and Dad swear they taste exactly like my Granny’s Japanese pickles. I don’t remember her pickles, but she died when I was 6. Now I have to find my uncle’s email and see if he has her recipe so I can see if it’s the same or if 30 years have warped my parent’s memory.

I also tryed to pickle garlick and pearl onions, but most of them turned blue. It’s an enzymic reaction and “normal” but it looks weird and I don’t know if they will get eaten.

So, all you need is some cabbage, salt, and a jar and you can grow your own digestive tract friends.

**I do other things to prevent yeast growth, but having other healthy flora there helps.