To prepare Sauerkraut is not a big deal, actually very simple. I love to eat Sauerkraut for its unique flavours. Especially with some big fat grilled sausages and Knödel a must. You can buy it too in groceries in the western world, but I doubt anywhere else. I haven’t found any to buy here around and I am really starving for the taste of Sauerkraut. Unluckily, I can’t make any at home right now, I would need to find a place to buy a crock pot for the fermentation. The crock pot should be available in the market not too expensive too, so grab one if you don’t have one lying around at home and try out my Sauerkraut making technique.
What is actually Sauerkraut?
The name itself is German, translated meaning “sour cabbage“. It is believed to have originated in China, where the Europeans picked the idea up to recreate cabbage fermentation. We in middle Europe, describe it as a typical Austrian/German dish, deeply rooted in our food traditions.
Basically Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria that forms when the bacteria ferments the sugars in the cabbage. Totally natural and very healthy for the human body, helping the digestion, boosting immunsystem (Probiotic) and curing constipation’s, a great Vitamin C punch. Furthermore it is considered a great prevention against cancer growth. The best is it’s 0% Fat! People who are not used to eat acidic food may get a upsetting tummy feeling.
Historians described that the European ship crews used to eat sauerkraut to prevent scurvy. Barrels of Sauerkraut were stored on board for long sea travels, the nutrient Vitamin C the only cure to this illness.
My mother has been making Sauerkraut for years, using a recipe my grandmother had passed down, so a total, 100% real, proper, traditional Sauerkraut recipe. Mostly we prepare it around September/October just before the cold season starts. That’s because one tends to have a low intake of Vitamin C in the Winter season, where this dish solves it all. The Crock has to stand over a Period of 6 Weeks in a cool place, like a cellar.
My mum had prepared a whole crock pot full of the home grown cabbage, some days ago and was so kind to make some pictures of the process. She doesn’t know to use a computer but she was delighted of the idea being featured on my blog. =)
18-20 kg Green Cabbage
Rough sea salt
20-25 liter Ceramic crock pot as seen @ Harsch Gairtopf
A weight to press and push down the cabbage
Start by removing the outer leaves of the cabbage and keep them aside, we will need them later and take out the inner core of the Cabbage. Now you will need some stamina for the grating of all the cabbages, which is tiring at times. A little workout is sure not bad, right? Wash the Cabbage pieces in Vinegar Water.
Once we have grated and washed the cabbages we will turn our attention to the Ceramic pot. The whole Cabbage leaves, which we had kept aside earlier, are to be placed at the bottom of the pot, covering it fully. This was a little secret of my grandmothers to enhance the final flavours to its fullest.
Now is the time to add the grated cabbage to the pot, adding step by step a layer of cabbage, sprinkling hand full salt and 1 Tbs Pepper Corns on each cabbage layer and pushing and pressing the cabbage with your fist or other weight down to the bottom of the pot till the cabbage layer is submerged in cabbage fluids, which is required for the fermentation.
Repeat the layer process till you have all the cabbage stamped down in the Crock pot and weighted with the cover stones. If the stones are covered by less than 1 to 2 inches of liquid, add around 1/2 l boiled and cooled water.
Now Cover the pot with the crock lid and add water into the water groove. Keep on adding water into the groove over the next weeks. This assures that the pot is sealed airtight, without yeast formations (makes it slimy) and air, dust and vermin’s entering and distracting our little growth. So, keep on adding tab water on the lid and don’t open the lid ever, only once its donne and ready, 6 weeks later.
Sauerkraut recipe- The Tirolean way
500 gms Sauerkraut
1 big Onion – slices
1-2 bay leaves
2-3 Juniper berries
few Pepper Balls
1/2 Tbs Cumin seeds
Maggie Cube beef
Optional – Bacon pieces
Begin by frying the onions slices in little Vegetable Oil till glossy pink. Add the Sauerkraut, season with all the above mentioned spices (and bacon) and add little water just enough so it won’t burn. Cook the whole mix on a small flame for around 20-30 mins, covered first and then uncovered the last minutes of cooking.
Ready to be served with grilled Sausages and Potato Knödel. Suited are Knacker or Frankfurter Sausages. I ll post a separate Knödel recipe surely in the future here @ Masala Herb.
Did you know that commercial available Sauerkraut in supermarkets is most of the time not fermented but treated with vinegar and therefore not Probiotic.
Keep in mind, everything good and healthy takes it’s time and definitely a must for a healthy complete diet.
A big thanks to my mum for her appreciated help to this Article!
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I am Helene, and created Masala Herb to share my food and travel journey with the whole world. You will find Asian and Western dishes here, as well as unique travel guides to inspire your day. Don't miss a post! Subscribe to the free newsletter!