What is sauerkraut?
Traditionally, speaking sauerkraut is a form of fermented cabbage the word sauerkraut means “sour cabbage” in German. The fermentation process, that has been used for centuries extends the shelf-life of cabbage from a couple of days to up to a year, hitting American shores in the 1700s. It has a bitey, sour taste that is a great accompaniment to many dishes.
According to the Institute for Integrative Medicine at the University of Witten in Germany, sauerkraut is one of the most common and oldest forms of preserving cabbage and can be traced back as an important food source to the fourth century B.C.
History of sauerkraut
Sauerkraut originated from Eastern Europe where it was a popular staple ingredient in countries like Germany, Poland and Russia.
Health benefits of sauerkraut
Some of the health benefits of eating cultured foods include:
- Improved immunity
- Prevention of diarrhea
- Improvement of high blood pressure
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Lowered cholesterol
- Reduced overall inflammation
Most of these health benefits are largely due to the probiotics direct impact on numerous organs and systems.
The nutritional value of sauerkraut differs from jar to jar depends on the ingredients added but a half cup serving has approximately.
- 14 calories
- 0 grams fat
- 4 grams fiber
- 3 grams carbohydrates
- 1 grams sugar
- 1 gram protein
- 496 milligrams sodium
- 11 milligrams vitamin C
- 10 micrograms vitamin K
- 1 milligram iron
- 1 milligram manganese
- .1 milligram vitamin B6
- 17 micrograms folate
How to make your own sauerkraut
- ½ purple cabbage
- Pinch of salt
- Glass container
- To make your own grab a couple of old jars, 1/2 red cabbage and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
- Grate the cabbage then "massage" it with a pinch of salt until it becomes nice and juicy forming a salty brine.
- Press it into a jar and then let it ferment in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks. Ta-dah!
Get experimental with your kraut and add in some different flavours and vegetables. For example, carrot and turmeric together make for an immunity-boosting combo.
What’s the difference between refrigerated and unrefrigerated?
It is a difficult choice to choose between hot and cold, but here is the real difference between the two. Sauerkraut that is sold refrigerated is not heat-treated so still contains all of its pre and probiotics.
Sauerkraut that you find on the shelf is generally fermented cabbage after pasteurization. Most of the good bacteria were killed in this heating process.
How to store sauerkraut
If you have made your own kraut, store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks while it ferments. Unopened it can last for over a year. After you’ve opened it can stay in the fridge for months at a time. It is always important to keep the cabbage submerged in the salty brine, otherwise, it will start to dry out.
Where to buy sauerkraut
You can purchase refrigerated sauerkraut from most major supermarkets and boutique markets and grocers.
Or alternatively you can purchase an unrefrigerated sauerkraut from the vegetable aisle of the store.
Here are three of our favourite ways to eat sauerkraut.
Herbed veal schnitzel with sauerkraut
Recreate your favourite dish in the comfort of your own home. Get the full recipe.
Pork with Apple Sauerkraut Salad
On the table and ready in minutes! Get the full recipe.
Rueben Potato Cakes with sauerkraut
These delicious cakes are full of flavour and a meal on their own. Just serve with salad! Get the full recipe.