Open up your fermentation pot and close your nose, because it's going to stink! ^.^ Take out the 2 stone halves and remove any Sauerkraut on them. Rinse the stones well and keep them aside.
1 pound Sauerkraut
Take out the Sauerkraut that you need from your crock and place it into a cooking pan. Before closing back the fermentation pot, place back in the 2 stone halves so that they press down the remaining sauerkraut inside. The Sauerkraut in the crock will keep well for up to 6 months that way.
Place fermented Sauerkraut into a colander and take it through cold freshwater. Rinse off excess salts. Remove excess water and take back to the cooking pot.
To Cook Sauerkraut
Keep your cooking pot with the sauerkraut over a low heat setting.
1 pound Sauerkraut
Add in one by one on top of the sauerkraut the sliced onion, bay leaves, black peppercorn, cumin seeds, juniper berries, water, and beer. Don't add any salt, the sauerkraut is salted enough!
1 Onion, 2 piece Bay leaves, 5 piece Black Peppercorn, 1 Teaspoon Caraway Seeds, 3 piece Juniper Berries, ½ cup Water, ¾ cup Beer
Mix it all a bit and place the sausage and/or pork belly slaps over your Sauerkraut.
4-6 piece Sausages
Cook the Sauerkraut and sausages for 30 minutes covered over a slow to medium heat setting. The sausages will crack open which is ok. You can cook the last 10 minutes uncovered to reduce liquids in the pan.
Take out whole spices and discard. Serve up hot.
You can use store-bought sauerkraut packages too but be aware that those are usually not fermented. Look out for fermented Sauerkraut.
In Austria and Germany, people use local sausages such as wiener, st.johanner, knacker, and käsekrainer. You can use kielbasa too and mini wieners. (see post for ideas). Adding pork belly slaps is optional but it adds flavor too.
If you intend to add the white Bavarian sausage to your Sauerkraut, then please cook that one separately either by boiling it in some water or by frying it with little oil in a pan!
Vegetarians can omit adding sausages or they can use vegan sausages. We add the meats because they give flavor to the whole Sauerkraut dish, plus you won't need to take out another pot just for cooking the meats.