Though pickles and sauerkraut are traditional German foods closely associated with Oktoberfest, “they have become woven into the fabric of American cuisine and you forget that they are German,” says Luke Regalbuto, who co-owns Point Reyes’s Wild West Ferments with his wife and business partner, Maggie.
Regalbuto recalls watching his Iowan grandfather stomp barreled cabbage in the cellar, pressing the juices out to kick-start the natural fermentation process that helped generations of eaters maintain good digestion. “It is real sauerkraut,” Regalbuto says.
The Regalbutos’ sauerkraut, a nutritious addition to any table, Oktoberfest or otherwise, is cold- fermented, which promotes the growth of beneficial microbes and probiotics in the product, according to Allison Quistgard-Scherer, producer of Marin TV’s Healing from the Ground Up. “Good ’kraut,” Scherer says, “has been shown to boost immune function and is packed with vitamins A, C, K, B6 and folate.”
When adding fermented foods to your diet, start slowly, with two tablespoons at a time, suggests Scherer. “Bio-individuality is in play,” she says, so be sure to give your gut time to adjust.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Our ‘Kraut”.