Back in the days of big shops with high masts and billowing sails, it was one of the most dreaded ways for sailors to die.
It'd be easier to imagine the Scourge of the Sea referring to hurricane-force winds, big fish with big teeth, or pirates, but nope. It was scurvy that held the title. It was lethal and claimed the lives of an estimated 2 million sailors during a 300-year span.
I won’t go into the gruesome details of what happens to a body with scurvy. I’ll just say the disease is caused by a lack of vitamin C. The symptoms can progress to be hideous and horribly painful.
In 1768 Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy set sail on a three-year mission. His food stores would remain intentionally well-stocked and among the stores was 7,860 pounds of sauerkraut. At the end of the mission, not a single death was reported to have been due to scurvy.
What was being used by the Brits in the 1700s had already been in use for several centuries (if not longer) by the Asians. Kimchi (one of my all-time fav foods) and other varieties of fermented cabbage were common fare in Asian communities and considered essential during long winters when fruit was sometimes scarce.
I'm glad you asked! ☺
Raw cabbage has vitamins. But, cabbage fermented in nothing more than salt and its own juice, or whatever else might be added to it, like rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, becomes a super-food due to probiotic enhancement that occurs during fermenting.
The fermenting that ultimately gives sauerkraut and kimchi its sour scent and taste is also a result of what takes it from being basically healthy food to super-food! During the fermenting process, the vitamins in it multiply, along with good gut bacteria.
The list of health benefits that can be derived from fermented cabbage is huge, but I'll keep it at a decently-sized overview of the big guns for you.
You can buy organic sauerkraut with live cultures for a small bit of coin, but making it yourself is super-easy and even less expensive. It stores easily too.
Another plus to making it yourself is that you'll know for certain it's chemical-free. Too, you can make it the way you want, adding your personal preferences to the ingredients.
Caitlin Shoemaker is cookin’ up a storm on YouTube. Her videos are chock-full of excellent recipes. Hope you’ll like the one I’m sharing in this post and if you enjoy it, please consider subscribing to her channel.
Just click on the vid below to see an excellent example of how to make your own great-tasting sauerkraut variations.
Some doctors recommend eating at least a few bites of fermented food with every meal. Just sayin'--knowledge is power and apparently, so is sauerkraut!
Thanks for visiting today. If you’re a sauerkraut fan and maybe have further information about it you’d like to share or have a question about it, I encourage you to please let me know in the comments.
Thank you as well for your interest and support of the independent journalism community.
‘Til next time,
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