Sauerkraut is made from shredded cabbage that is fermented and pickled in a brine of salt and cabbage juice. The juice and brine come about through how it is made: layers of cabbage with alternating layers of salt, which is then pressed down, squeezing juices out of the cabbage.
Varieties include Bavarian (milder flavour, with sugar and caraway seeds added), Sauerkraut with celery seed, Winekraut (which has white wine in it), and Sauerkraut Salad, which has onions, red peppers and vinegar mixed in.
Sauerkraut can be eaten cold or hot. While it is often served hot with pork dishes, it is also a favourite hot dog topping in America, and is used in deli sandwiches such as Reubens.
You can buy it canned, jarred or fresh in bags in the chiller sections of some supermarkets and delis.
When you are heating Sauerkraut, a bit of chopped apple in it can be nice.
If you just drink the juice and don't eat the cabbage, you can reduce the calories by half. You can buy Sauerkraut juice on its own, and some people do like it. That being said, I don't think the orange juice people have to worry just yet.
It was known amongst Germans in America in 1776. It went on to become a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty (the Dutch meaning "Deutsch" meaning German).
Literature & Lore
Some Americans called Sauerkraut "Liberty Cabbage" during World War I (against Germany).
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