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Making your own sauerkraut is also very easy. All you need is cabbage & salt (no vinegar), and a few clean jars or a large ceramic pot to put it in. Leave it out of the fridge for about a week, to ferment and turn sour, and then store in the fridge. I’m from the Netherlands, and we also like our saurkraut, usually with mashed potatoes, smoked sausage & bacon. Yum, I’m getting hungry, would it be wrong to have it for breakfast ;)?
I grew up eating saurkraut and loved it then I learned that it, as well as processed foods, aged cheeses,red wine etc. were responsible for the terrible migraines I suffered from for most of my life. I haven’t had sauerkraut in 40 years because of this. Some German I turned out to be. Will making fresh sauerkraut using hard cider and vinegar contain the nitrates that make me sick?
Juniper berries are the bavarian version. Don’t chop the onion, just peel it and cook it along for the taste. Remove before serving. The same goes for the berries, as you don’t want to eat them, they are just in for the taste (some people do eat them, though). Add lard as well unless you’re veggie, the fat makes it more tasty. The most important ingredient is missing though: time. It is essential to cook it at least the day before and leave it over night. Oxidation will make it darker and much more rich in flavor. And yes, I am bavarian.
Speaking to my Grandfather today (Swiss German). He told me his father used to make sauerkraut using juniper berries. He said “you can add caraway seeds, but then it would be a Bavarian version”. Idk if juniper berries are as “Bavarian”, I think they are more of a Swiss version. I could be very wrong though.
Those that aren’t noticing Elise’s comments, this recipe is also referred to as cooked sauerkraut. If you haven’t had cooked sauerkraut and enjoy german food you are missing something very delicious!
Another way to prepare it is to substitute apple juice for the wine, don’t use juniper berries and at the very end grate a fresh potatoes into it as a thickener for the sauce.
My family is German-American, so I grew up eating sauerkraut, though my grandpa always added lots of brown sugar to mitigate the vinegary-ness of canned/jarred varieties. Plus, it made the spare-ribs even more succulent!
So, even though I liked sauerkraut, when I finally traveled to Germany for the first time, I was surprised to discover that sauerkraut there tasted completely different and so much more delicious! It was decidedly un-“sauer,” with a mild but complex, faintly fruity flavor.
The difference, it turns out, is because in the U.S., sauerkraut came to be pickled in vinegar as it was easier and safer to mass produce it that way. (Botulism is inhibited by high-acidic environment.) But in Germany, sauerkraut is frequently still made the old-fashioned way, and the “sauer” results from allowing cabbage to ferment in it’s own juices and not from pickling cabbage in vinegar.
Still, in a pinch, this recipe is a great way to spruce up, and tone down the vinegar, of canned and even some jarred (I’m so used to buying certain brands, I haven’t noticed anything labeled “fresh” at my grocer, but now I will take a look) varieties of store-bought sauerkraut. And the juniper berries really do transport me back to Germany! Thank you!
P.S. While I have not tried my hand at making fermented sauerkraut from scratch, there are lots of food bloggers out there who have. Many have gotten great results, and shared their trials, tribulations, and techniques which ultimately worked.
My mother used to made a really quite dreadful dinner of leftover cubed pork, sauerkraut and apples. I despised it but was forced to sit at the table until I had eaten it.
Yet I have read recipes that rave about sauerkraut. Can this relationship be saved? I have never had fresh sauerkraut and am afraid to make it. Would buying the “fresh” refrigerated sauerkraut really be “the best”? My mom used a can of kraut. Also, I think my Mom used apples from our trees, which may have been the wrong kind — they dissolved into little spit-balls of apple. The leftover pork from a Sunday pork roast may also be a culprit in this tale.
What suggestions do you have that may lead me to actually enjoying a sauerkraut recipe? Thank you very much!
Hi Patty, I suggest that you try a jar of “fresh” refrigerated sauerkraut and try it. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, you don’t. We love it. ~Elise
I can understand that the very word sauerkraut seems to say it needs special skills to make this, but no, it’s as simple to make as a cup of coffee! Shred a chunk of white cabbage, crush a bit, add salt, put in a jar. The other steps are embellishments. After a week the kraut is ready. Further time gives sharper taste. It’s so very simple I wouldn’t dream of buying commercial kraut. Nothing to fear at all, it is foolproof. Don’t forget, kimchi is the Korean version, and also popular there with pork. Lacto-bacteria are safe and make loads of vitamin C. I like to add grated apple and carrot, they all ferment together, adding flavour and sweetness.Knock up a jar every week or so, make extra for friends as a welcome gift. Adding flavoursome seeds like caraway, cumin, juniper, and other vegs like radish or red pepper is such fun. Kraut and kimchi are a quickly acquired taste that’s kind of addictive too. And those naturally occurring probiotics condition the gut.
This recipe was very good… much like what my Mom used to make. I added a tbsp brown sugar and that too was good.
My late wife made sauerkraut as a vegetable dish for supper. I like sauerkraut very much but do not know how she made it so tasty. I just dump it out of the can and heat it. It lacks a heck of a lot of the taste that my wife made. Can you help me with some suggestions?
Try using fresh sauerkraut, sold in the jars in the refrigerated section of grocery stores. Much tastier. ~Elise
Why do you start with a jar or glass of sauerkraut?Begin with a head of cabbage for the real McCoy. Cooking will take longer, but the result will be delicious and authentic.
Cooked shredded cabbage does not equal sauerkraut. ~Elise
What do you do after “…the onions are soft”? do you drain this before serving? Do you remove the Juniper berries?
You can scoop out the sauerkraut with a slotted spoon and serve, usually alongside pork. You do not need to remove the juniper berries. ~Elise
What is Bavarian Sauerkraut? Is it different than regular Sauerkraut? I tried to find it for a recipe and all of the stores I went to only had regular, traditional, and crispy sauerkraut.
Bavarian sauerkraut has to do with how you prepare the sauerkraut, after you’ve bought it, cooking it with white wine, apple, onion and juniper berries. ~Elise
Not a comment but a question – do you drain the kraut first?
There is no need to drain the sauerkraut first. ~Elise