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What Is SauerkrautBy: ChefTalk.comPosted 02/17/10 • Last updated 02/17/10 • 963 views
So you know how it tastes, but do you know anything else about Sauerkraut?
What is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented in salt.
Where did the word Sauerkraut come from?
The word Sauerkraut means “sour cabbage” in German.
Who invented Sauerkraut?
Credit the Chinese for the creation of Sauerkraut more than 2,300 years ago. Originally it consisted of shredded cabbage that was pickled in wine. Workers building the Great Wall of China were among the first to enjoy it. Around the end of the 16th century, salt was used in place of wine in the fermentation process. It produced a better product, and it’s a recipe that’s still followed today.
How is Sauerkraut made?
Cabbage is planted in March and harvested in August. After being harvested the heads of cabbage are washed and shredded. The shredded cabbage is mixed with salt and tightly packed into huge stainless steel or fiberglass-lined vats to ferment. At Great Lakes Kraut, our largest vats are 25 feet deep with a 32-foot diameter. The average vat holds about 225,000 heads of cabbage, or 900 tons. During fermentation, lactic acid is created. This is what gives Sauerkraut its unique flavor and texture. After about six weeks, fermentation is complete and the Sauerkraut is ready for packaging.
How much cabbage is grown each year in the U.S. for making Sauerkraut?
In an average year around 185,000 tons of raw cabbage is harvested. Most of it is grown in Wisconsin and New York.
How much raw cabbage does Great Lakes Kraut process every year?
More than 170,000 tons.
How much Sauerkraut does Great Lakes Kraut produce every year?
How much cabbage does it take to make a 14.4 oz. can of Krrrrisp Kraut/Silver Floss?
About a tenth of a head. If all the Sauerkraut we packaged in a year went into 14.4 oz. cans, they would stretch halfway around the world.
How much Sauerkraut is eaten every year?
Worldwide, more than one billion servings.
Two out of three Americans eat kraut on a regular basis—that translates into about 1.5 pounds of kraut a year. In Germany, the average consumption is 3.74 pounds of kraut a year!
How do people use Krrrrisp Kraut/Silver Floss Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut can be served hot or cold and can be used as a condiment or recipe ingredient.
- As a topping for hot dogs or bratwurst (Kraut is second only to mustard as America’s favorite hot dog topping)
- In a Reuben sandwich
- With roasted pork, pork chops, or ribs
- As a side dish
- In salads
- In soup
Is Sauerkraut good for you?
YES! Eating Sauerkraut has many health benefits.
A one cup serving of Sauerkraut has:
- Just 32 calories
- No fat or cholesterol
- 4 grams of fiber
- 35% DV vitamin C
- 102% DV vitamin K
- 12% DV Iron
- Plus vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium, and copper
- A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that the process of fermenting cabbage produces isothiocyanates, a class of compounds shown to prevent cancer growth—especially in the breast, colon, lung, and liver.
- Sauerkraut is a cruciferous vegetable. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, eating several servings of cruciferous vegetables a week (Sauerkraut, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and turnips) can reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- To reduce the amount of sodium in Sauerkraut, just rinse or soak it in cold water.
Are there any traditions associated with eating Sauerkraut?
The Dutch eat chicken stuffed with Sauerkraut at Christmas to mark the end the year. A chicken is chosen because of the way it scratches the ground—it symbolizes scratching the earth over the old year. The Dutch also enjoy pork and Sauerkraut to start the New Year. Because a pig uses its snout to push the earth forward, it is interpreted as a way to look ahead to an exciting New Year. Also, many European cultures believe it is good luck to eat Sauerkraut on New Years Day, at graduations, and other family celebrations.
How did the tradition of Oktoberfest start?
It all started with a wedding. When crown prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese on October 12, 1810, the festivities lasted five days, ending with a horse race. The following year, an agricultural festival accompanied the horse race. In 1818 booths featuring food and drink were added to the celebration. By the late 20th century, the booths were transformed into large beer halls and the Oktoberfest as we know it was born.
Every year more than 7 million visitors attend the "original" Oktoberfest in Munich. The two-week festival always ends on the first Sunday in October. Cities throughout the United States and Canada also host Oktoberfest and Sauerkraut festivals where you’ll find plenty of Great Lakes Kraut.
The Great Lakes Kraut Company, the world’s largest producer of Sauerkraut, is challenging professional chefs to enter their best original Sauerkraut recipes in an “Entrée to Munich” recipe contest. The contest is open to U.S. residents who are employed in culinary professions and are 18 years of age or older. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: entrée, appetizer/soups/salads, and side dishes.
The Grand Prize winner will be awarded a trip for two to Munich or a cash prize of $4,000. Other winning entries will receive $1,000 cash prizes.
For full rules and regulations, please visit, www.entreetomunich.com.
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