Sauerkraut – Interesting Facts

Using lactic acid to preserve food is one of the oldest preservation methods known to man; it was first used in Ancient Greece. Although Germany is known for its sauerkraut, pickling white cabbage is in fact popular in many parts of the world, not only in Europe. Kimchi, the Korean version of sauerkraut, has existed since the 7th century. Sauerkraut’s reputation as a winter vegetable also has historical roots: not only could it survive the cold seasons, it also provides lots of vitamin C and other important nutrients. 

Food Facts Food Facts

Sauerkraut

Class cabbage
Calories 19 kcal per 100g
Nutrients 1.7g carbohydrate, 2.2g fibre, 0.3g fat, 1.3g protein per 100g
Season available year-round
Storage store fresh sauerkraut in the fridge, preserved sauerkraut in the fridge or cellar
Shelf life two weeks to several years

Sauerkraut – Preparation

Sauerkraut can be bought ready for consumption in every supermarket – either stored in a glass jar, vacuum packed in plastic or preserved in a tin – all of which are ideal for quick recipes. However, if you have a fresh cabbage in storage that you aren’t sure what to do with, why not try making your own sauerkraut? All you need is a large, clean jar and a plate. You also need a fresh head of cabbage, salt, a slicer, a masher and something to weigh down the plate, like a stone.

First prepare the cabbage: rinse it under running water, remove the outer three or four leaves and discard them. Remove the stalk and chop the cabbage into thin strips. Place a large cabbage leaf in the bottom of the jar and layer the cabbage strips on top, then grind the leaves until they release their juice. Together with salt, the juice is vital for the fermentation process. 

Sauerkraut – The Benefits of Cooking

Cooking sauerkraut is generally a good idea – through the breakdown of certain molecules it has even more vitamin C when cooked. Briefly steaming sauerkraut at a medium heat will suffice, as the pickling process has already made the cabbage more digestible. To further prevent any digestion problems after consuming sauerkraut add some fennel or caraway seeds during cooking. Depending on your taste, you can also add salt, pepper, onions and a little bit of white wine. More unusual combinations can also taste very good – how about adding some apples and raisins, for example?

Sauerkraut – Not Just Savoury

Sauerkraut is a classic component of a Bernese platter, a traditional meal consisting of different meat and sausage varieties and salted potatoes. Sauerkraut’s intense flavour makes it a great addition to savoury dishes and due to being low calorie provides an excellent balance for more fatty meals. However, Sauerkraut is far from just a simple side for meat – in vegetarian bean or lentil stews it provides fresh flavour. A flammkuchen, a type of tarte from the Alsace region, or a hearty bake are also delicious with sauerkraut – be inspired by our diverse Sauerkraut recipes.

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