Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) has a long and noble history, valued for its health benefits and a staple of Central Eastern Europe and Asia for centuries (German migrants took it to America in the 18th century – where it remains just as popular today).
Why is sauerkraut good for us?
The act of fermentation – achieved simply by shredding and mashing the cabbage with salt and letting the beneficial lacto – bacteria naturally present in the cabbage do their magic, preserves and predigests all its valuable nutrients, making them more bio-available. As a bonus, the fermentation process produces B vitamins and the probiotic bacteria thrive and multiply.
What are its nutritional and health benefits?
Sauerkraut contains a powerful cocktail of gut- friendly bacteria, dietary fibre, and vitamins and minerals vitamins A, C & K, and iron. Its long list of health benefits include improving digestive health, stimulating the immune system, protecting the heart and circulation, and improving endocrine function. It’s also said to contribute to eye health, to be good for your brain, and to offer some protection against some cancers.
Note: Raw sauerkraut, being unprocessed is nutritionally superior; bought sauerkraut is usually processed. It has a soft, melting texture, and is a great introduction to sauerkraut if you haven’t tried it before.
Can I buy biodynamic sauerkraut?
Yes. Jars of biodynamic (Demeter) sauerkraut can be bought from organic/ health food shops. Ready to use and inexpensive, it’s prepared in the time honoured German way using biodynamic cabbages, sea salt, and organic juniper berries . No other added ingredients or additives: just pure and simple kraut, minimally processed from ingredients you can trust . In short, a great store-cupboard staple and condiment
So how can I use it?
Sauerkraut has a mildly acidic tang to it. It’s the perfect partner for pork, sausages, frankfurters, chorizo, ham & bacon, a great addition to winter salads, cooked bean soups and salads. Try it, too, with herrings and mackerel. A popular traditional way is to slow cook sauerkraut with cheaper cuts of pork. Pork, apples, onions, kraut, flavoured with caraway seeds produces one heavenly classic dish.
You’ll also soon find yourself reaching for a spoonful to eat with cheese and cooked meat ploughmans, too. Or to eat out the jar….
Sauerkraut works well with a range of spices, flavourings and fruit & vegetables: good combinations are: –
Spices & flavourings: caraway, celery seed, dill, juniper berries, chilli, garlic, gherkins, mustard, sour cream
Fruit and vegetables: apples, cranberries, beetroot, carrots, onions, peppers, celeriac, celery, potatoes, endive and chicories
Photo Credit: Jessica Standing