Sauerkraut has always been one of my favorite winter foods. I well remember going to Granma’s house on Saturdays, when fall was in the air somewhere late September she prepared her winter foods.
She would have a small runner bean cutter attached to the kitchen table and while she added the beans from the top I turned the handle to see the thin slices come out from the device. No electric appliances those days but it made it all more authentic when you ask me, more real so to speak. Nostalgia most probably, but good memories, things you never forget.
The wood and coal operated stove, coffee or thee pot on a corner of the stove and on Saturdays always hot chocolate and a slice or two of her delicious current and raisin cake a regional delicacy made with a yeast batter cooked ‘au bain- marie’ on the stove.
The runner beans where then salted, placed in earthenware pots, covered with a wooden lid and secured with a weight, usually a heavy stone to prevent stray microbes to enter the pot. After that the pots went straight to the basement cellar until ready to eat, this process would take a couple of weeks, patience is the key to good cooking and to good ingredients.
Grandma was a great gardener, not that she had a big garden but the space was full of beautiful flowers and vegetables.
Sauerkraut was another favorite on the list of nourishing foods she made in bulk to have enough throughout winter.
Thin shredded cabbage salted and fermented one of the best foods ever invented.
True peasant food those days but today cherishes and praised for its nutritional values, we know now that the lactic acid fermentation process increases vitamins B and C and food enzymes. Fermented foods are now praised by people with auto immune issues because friendly micro enzymes help to colonize the gut and manufacture vitamins in the digestive tract.
To make home -made sauerkraut is quite easy you just need some patients and a bit of dedication.
Smaller quantities sauerkraut can be stored in mason jars, but if you like the idea you can consider investing in a fermentation crock. (like the one in the bottom add on the right)
In this recipe I paired my sauerkraut with a schnitzel. Using sausages, bacon, ham hock, braised pork or anything you like is delicious as well. It’s all about comfort food during the cold spell coming our way.
Note: Prep time is based on ready for use sauerkraut and nutritional value is based on 800 gr sauerkraut and 750 gr potatoes
- For the sauerkraut
- 2 kg white round cabbage (cored and thinly shredded)
- 2 tbsp sea salt (I use the slight coarse type)
- For the schnitzels
- 4 bone-less pork loin chops (use bone-less chicken breast if you don't want pork) 150 gr each
- 1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs (whisked)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- salt & pepper
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1To make the sauerkraut, place the shredded cabbage in a large container, add the salt and mix well so the salt combines well with the cabbage. Leave to rest for about 2 hours
- 2The salt will slowly start to break up the cellular structure of the cabbage, help a bit at this stage by squeezing the cabbage with your hands.
- 3When the cabbage starts to release its juices pack tightly in mason jars or a fermentation crock. Press tight to eliminate air bubbles making sure that the juices cover the solids
- 4Cover loosely and allow to sit at room temperature for at least one month or longer, testing every few days until it is done to your liking, If so transfer to the fridge and keep your sauerkraut for up to six months
- 5I wish to note here that when you live in a hot humid country, like I do, you will have to transfer the sauerkraut after a week or so to the fridge. The hot weather and humidity will speed up the fermentation process and increases chances of stray microbes that may spoil the sauerkraut.
- 6When your sauerkraut is ready to use give it a quick taste, when you find it having a too sharp salty taste rinse under running water to do away with the brine.
- 7Place four portions of the sauerkraut in a pot and barely cover it with water and a splash of white wine (if liked) place half an onion pierced with five or six cloves in the sauerkraut and simmer on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes
- 8Meanwhile flatten the pork chops (or chicken breast if used) with a mallet between two sheets of parchment paper, season with salt & pepper
- 9Coat the schnitzels with flour, dip in the whisked egg and lastly coat them all around with bread crumbs
- 10Heat the oil to medium heat in a large skillet, add the butter followed by the schnitzels, fry for 2 to 3 minutes on both sides until golden brown and crispy
- 11Drain liquid from the sauerkraut and remove the onion. serve with the schnitzel and boiled potatoes
- Total Fat17.9 g28%
- Sat. Fat6.0 g30%
- Cholesterol15.5 mg5%
- Sodium11990.6 mg500%
- Carbs85.0 g28%
- Fiber15.2 g61%
- Sugars8.9 g10%
- Protein27.4 g55%