The History of Sauerkraut
Although sauerkraut - German for "sour cabbage" - is thought of as a German invention, Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago ate it as standard fare. Chinese sauerkraut, made from shredded cabbage fermented in RICE WINE,
Most likely it was brought to Europe 1000 years later by Gengis Kahn after plundering China.
Although in Germany instead of using the wine they dry cured it by sprinkling salt on the shredded cabbage. The water is then drawn out of the cabbage to make the juice that you see that accompanies the kraut.
The Dutch , who were great sea-fearing traders used sauerkraut on their ships as it did not need refrigeration and helped prevent scurvy.
Today's sauerkraut is made by combining shredded cabbage, salt and sometimes spices, and allowing the mixture to ferment. It can be purchased in jars and cans in supermarkets. Fresh sauerkraut is sold in delicatessens and in plastic bags in a supermarket's refrigerated section. It should be rinsed before being used in casseroles, as a side dish and even on sandwiches like the famous REUBEN SANDWICH. Sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as of some of the B vitamins.
There is a theory that the Tartars introduced the acid cabbage from the Orient into eastern Europe, and from there kraut went to Germany, Alsace-Lorraine, and France.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Sauerkraut is finely-sliced white cabbage fermented with lactobacillus bacteria. The sugars in the cabbage are thereby converted into lactic acid and serve as a preservative.
Sauerkraut is thought to have originated in the north of China among the Mongols and was introduced in Europe by migrating tribes. Eastern Europeans, in particular, consume a large amount of sauerkraut. Jews adopted sauerkraut as part of their cuisine and are thought to have introduced it in the northern countries Western Europe and the United States. Sauerkraut is a staple of the winter diet in Germany and the Netherlands. While sauerkraut is customarily prepared with pork, Jews customarily use goose or duck meat.
Basic sauerkraut is made by cutting fresh cabbage into fine strips, and packing it into an airtight container while mixing in a certain amount of salt, approximately 1.5%. Traditionally, a stoneware crock is used. The fermentation vessel is kept at 23C for three days, then left in cooler temperatures for eight weeks.
Variations include sauerkraut prepared from whole cabbages instead of shredded ones. Sometimes other vegetables are added. Sometimes spices and/or wine are added. There are other vegetables that have been preserved by a similar process. Also, silage, a feed for cattle, is made the same way.
For preparation at home, the various methods are somewhat controversial. The USDA recommendations call for a greater amount of salt than is traditional, making the sauerkraut unpalatably salty unless rinsed before eating. Such rinsing removes a good deal of the flavor. When traditional amounts of salt are used, temperature control becomes more critical, because food poisoning can occur if the fermentation temperature is too high.