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How to Make Sauerkraut

How to Make Sauerkraut

Last Updated on 24th February 2022 by

Sauerkraut makes for an excellent garnish sandwiches and meats, and it can be a good side dish on its own. Sauerkraut is fairly easy to make, so if it’s something you enjoy, you may be interested in learning how to cook sauerkraut at home.

What Is Sauerkraut

Have you ever seen sauerkraut on a menu at a sandwich or hotdog shop? It’s a common garnish on those dishes, and that’s where you’re most likely to see it, as well as in a few ethnic restaurants.

What is sauerkraut made of? Sauerkraut is a dish created from fermented cabbage, with a bit of seasoning to add flavor, since cabbage is fairly bland. It’s used in German dishes primarily, but it’s made its way into the cuisine of a number of countries at this point.

How to eat sauerkraut? You’ll typically use it as a topping, though some people like it so much they eat it on its own, like those weird people how eat pickles from the jar. For some, it’s strong flavor is an acquired taste, so you may not want to make up a batch if you’re not sure you will like it.

If you do enjoy sauerkraut, then you have probably already decided you want to see how it tastes when it is homemade, which is why you are on this article in the first place.

How to Make Sauerkraut

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ heads of cabbage
  • 3 ¾ teaspoons of salt 

Directions:

  1. You will need to weigh the cabbage to see how much salt is needed, as you will be using close to two teaspoons of salt for every pound of cabbage.
  2. Pull off any leaves of cabbage that are unsightly or damaged. Then, cut the core from the cabbage and rinse it the remaining cabbage leaves. Drain out the excess water.
  3. Place one leaf to the side and then shred the rest of the cabbage. You can use a grater, knife, or food processor. Put your shredded cabbage in a large bowl and add in your salt and toss.
  4. Allow the salted cabbage to sit there for about 15 minutes and then work the salt into the cabbage for five minutes. The cabbage should let out some liquid as you do this.
  5. Pour the shredded cabbage into a quart jar as well as the liquid produced during kneading.
  6. Take the cabbage leaf you set aside and cut a circle out of it that’s as large round as the jar you’re putting the shredded cabbage into. Put that leaf on top of your charred cabbage and place a weight on top of that. The liquid brine should cover all of your cabbage. If not, add a little bit of salt and water to the jar until the cabbage is covered.
  7. Screw the cover onto the jar and place it on the counter to ferment for one to four weeks.

How long to ferment sauerkraut for? That depends on how sour you want it. The longer you ferment it for, the more sour it will become.

There may be some overflow from your jarred cabbage, and to anticipate that, you can place the jar inside a rimmed pan or other dish that can catch overflow.

How Long Does Sauerkraut Last

After the sauerkraut has fully fermented, you can store it in the fridge. If you’re keeping it refrigerated and in an airtight jar, it should last for up to six months. I

t’s not designed to be frozen, and if it starts to smell odd or taste odd, they should be tossed out and considered spoiled.

How to Make Sauerkraut in a Crock Pot

If you’re interested in making sauerkraut in a crock pot, it’s not difficult. You can take the basic recipe that I’ve given you above and just add to it to make a more complex sauerkraut dish.

I like to add bacon and onions to it, already cooked. These are chopped and small pieces, and they mix really well with the sauerkraut, giving it a robust flavor and texture. You can add vinegar and sugar to your sauerkraut as well, and a pinch of caraway seeds really makes the dish stand out.

You take all these ingredients and put them in a slow cooker and then cover that. From there, the flavors will blend as everything cooks together, and that should take around one to two hours.

What does sauerkraut taste like when it’s cooked like this? The hot sauerkraut is very comforting, as anyone who’s had cooked cabbage before knows. The sauerkraut gets a texture similar to that of stir fry cabbage.

You add in the saltiness and sweetness of the bacon and onions, as well as the sweetness and tartness of the sugar and vinegar, and you get a really great mixture of flavors. This creates a layered sauerkraut that’s very appealing to your palate.

What to eat sauerkraut with when you’ve made it like this? I definitely recommend some smoked sausage. Use the sauerkraut as a garnish or chop the sausage up small and mix everything together.

This can be your main dish, served alongside some pasta and garlic bread for a complex, filling, fantastic meal.

Why Is Sauerkraut Good for You?

A lot of fermented foods have some health benefits, and I want to specifically tell you about why sauerkraut is good for you.

As a fermented food, sauerkraut contains probiotics. You can find these in just about any food that’s been fermented in a similar manner, and sauerkraut is a rich source of probiotics, which are excellent for your digestive health.

By eating foods like this every so often, you’ll boost your digestive system, preventing bacterial infections and indigestion. You’re less likely to have an upset stomach or suffer an infestation of bacteria in your body.

A lot of unhealthy things probably pass through your digestive system, and eating probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut can fortify you intestines and digestive tract to keep infection out.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here

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