Sauerkraut-making requires the bacteria Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Lactobacillus brevis to ferment sugars that provide a variety of such organic products as lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol, and mannitol. These bacteria are known as ‘heterofermentative’ bacteria. Later a ‘homofermentative’ bacteria, Lactobacillus plantarum takes over, producing only lactic acid.
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Gundruk is an important source of minerals during the off-season (Karki, 1986). Mustard, radish and cauliflower leaves, wilt for one or two days, and then shredded with a knife or sickle, tightly packed in an earthenware pot and warm water, and the pot kept in a warm place. Unlike sauerkraut, no salt is added to the water. After five to seven days, a mild acidic taste (lactic-acid from the lactic-acid bacteria) indicates the end of fermentation. The gundruk is removed and sun-dried. It is served as a side dish with the main meal and is also used as an appetiser.
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