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Sauerkraut

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In the US canned sauerkraut was ranked number one in a Vegetable Flavor Index by hundreds of consumers and college students in a national taste test. In fact the term 'sauerkraut' is of German origin and means 'sour cabbage'- thinly sliced light cabbage which is shredded and fermented.


It has a distinctive tangy flavor and good keeping qualities resulting from the lactic acid which gets formed when the bacteria ferment sugars in fresh cabbage. A little of sauerkraut adds zest to a meal whether it is a hotdog or a side dish to pork. Sauerkraut is a key ingredient in appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches, in meat or cheese preparations alike. Check out simple sauerkraut recipes, be it sauerkraut with pork or bratwurst sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is sought after not only for its flavor but also its amazing health benefits. Recent research says that sauerkraut when eaten by women during pregnancy can prevent babies from developing certain types of childhood cancer. Earlier studies have indicated that sauerkraut is effective in preventing cancer of the breast. Sauerkraut is fat and cholesterol free and is a great source of fiber as it contains plenty of vitamins C and K, manganese and vitamin B6 and folate. This helps in treating peptic ulcers as well.

The fermentation process in sauerkraut produces good bacteria called probiotics which in turn produces beneficial enzymes. They aid digestion and promote a healthy flora in the digestive tract. But one has to be aware of the fact that the sauerkraut sold in the markets is pasteurized and several good bacteria might have been killed. In order to gain the health benefits of fermentation, traditionally prepared sauerkraut has to diligently purchased or homemade.


Making Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is extremely easy to grow and preserve. Sauerkraut is made by a process similar to pickled cucumbers. Fully cured sauerkraut is kept for months together in airtight containers and stored below 15 degree C. Although refrigeration or pasteurization is not required, these may help prolong the storage life of sauerkraut.

Salt is a major component in the fermenting process. Relating to the amount of cabbage the flavor profile of sauerkraut is added in proportions from 0.6% to 2%. Sometimes if the sauerkraut is unpalatably salty, it is rinsed before eating. But beware that such rinsing removes much of the nutrients content and flavor from sauerkraut. It is also essential to check on the temperature controls because spoilage leading to food poisoning can occur if the fermentation temperature of sauerkraut is too high. The high acidity content in sauerkraut prevents it from spoilage.

Ceramic jars that have a trough around the lid can be best used to preserve sauerkraut. When the trough is filled with water it results in an airtight seal. Commercial sauerkraut productions employ large airtight plastic barrels fitted with one way valves for gas escape.


  • Tightly packed sauerkraut can be safely kept in the refrigerator for six months or more.

  • The sharpness of sauerkraut depends upon how long it is cooked.

  • To derive most tang and greatest crispness from sauerkraut, simply heat it.

  • For milder flavor, cook it longer.

  • Late cabbage is best for sauerkraut as it has higher sugar content.

Sauerkraut recipes

Sauerkraut can be eaten raw or cooked. In its raw form, sauerkraut is eaten as a relish with meat dishes such as hot dogs. Raw sauerkraut is also dressed with oil and onions and served as salad. However, sauerkraut is most commonly served hot. Some ingredients in cooked sauerkraut dishes are bacon, caraway and apples. Kraut juice which is a regional beverage in the US contains the liquid in which sauerkraut is cured. Sauerkraut is also used in chicken and pork stews.

Sauerkraut seasoned with oil and paprika is served in cold salads. Sauerkraut is believed to help against hangovers. Sauerkraut is used in dips, spreads, balls, beverages, cocktails, in chicken, beef, pork, fish and eggs as main dishes, for stuffing and topping in side dishes and in desserts like cakes, pies and frostings. There could be a number of variations while preparing sauerkraut recipes. Some may even prefer whole cabbage or leaves instead of shredded strips of sauerkraut.


Recipe for Sauerkraut soup

Ingredients: 1 cup of sauerkraut well drained, ½ cup chopped onions, ¼ cup of chopped celery, butter, ¼ cup flour, 3 cups water, 4 tsp bouillon cubes, 12 oz cheese, bread toasted and cut into quarters.

Cook onion and celery in butter in a large saucepan until tender. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in water and bouillon and bring to boil. Simmer uncovered for about five minutes. Add corned beef, kraut and one cup cheese. Cook for about thirty minutes until slightly thickened. Stir frequently. Ladle into oven proof bowls. Top each with toasted bread and ½ cup cheese. Broil till the cheese melts. Serve hot.


Recipes with sauerkraut

Sauerkraut with pork

Ingredients: 1 pound fresh sauerkraut rinsed and well drained, 1 diced onion, 1 can stewed tomatoes, ½ cup dark brown sugar, 3 lbs pork ribs, celery seed to sprinkle.

Layer all the above mentioned ingredients in a slow cooker beginning with sauerkraut. Cover and cook on low for eight to ten hours.


Sauerkraut with chicken

Ingredients: chicken cutlets, 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 can of sauerkraut, 15 oz tomato sauce, oil to add, 1 ½ cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese. Pound the chicken until thin and combine with herbs and bread crumbs. Dip chicken into eggs and then into breadcrumbs. Bake in 400 degree oven. Pour sauce on top of chicken and cover with sauerkraut. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and bake in 350 degree heat oven. Top with mozzarella and bake about five minutes.


Sauerkraut with fish

Ingredients: 1 can of sauerkraut, 1 cup diced tomatoes, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 chopped onion, 4 medium orange roughy fillets, 4 teaspoons butter, 8 table spoon Mayonnaise, squares of foil.

Place a fillet in the center of each foil and on top of fillet place 2 table spoon mayonnaise. On top of this place ¼ cups of onion, sauerkraut and tomatoes. Finish off with breadcrumbs and a pat of butter. Fold the corners of the foil and place the pouches on a cooking sheet. Cook for about ten minutes and then rotate. Continue to cook for another ten more minutes.


Sauerkraut and potato

Ingredients: drained and rinsed sauerkraut, 1 can condensed cream of celery soup, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 ½ cup of sausage, 4 medium potatoes peeled and cubed, 1 cup chopped onion and 1 cup shredded mild cheddar or jack cheese.

In crock-pot, combine the soup, sugar and sauerkraut. Stir in sausage, potato and onion. Cover and cook on low heat for about 8 hours. Skim off excess fat. Add shredded cheese on top.


Bratwurst sauerkraut recipe 1

Ingredients: 2 pounds bratwurst, 1 quart sauerkraut, ½ cup brown sugar, ground pepper and hot mustard to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer sauerkraut in a baking dish and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Score the bratwurst and place on the sauerkraut. Bake for an hour. Serve with mashed potatoes and a dollop of hot mustard.


Bratwurst sauerkraut recipe 2

Ingredients: 2 pounds fresh bratwurst, 2 table spoon oil, 2 onions chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, 2 cups chicken, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 table spoon caraway seed, 4 cups of drained sauerkraut, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill and 1 baguette.

In a large pan, heat oil over high heat. Brown bratwurst in oil and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic and cook light. Add stock, paprika, caraway seeds and sauerkraut and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fresh dill. Serve on baguette.



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