Learning how to cook sauerkraut is a fun, delightful way to add a bit of German flair to your meals. Read on below to find out how to ferment sauerkraut and what recipes you can make with it!
In this article:
- What Is Sauerkraut?
- How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut
- How to Cook Sauerkraut: 3 Sauerkraut Recipes You Might Like
A Complete Guide on How to Cook Sauerkraut
What Is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is a German superfood that consists of raw shredded cabbage fermented in lactic acid bacteria and then stored in large mason jars. They form a strong, sour flavor during the fermentation process.
How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut
Preparing sauerkraut on your own is a lot more fun and exciting than buying one at your local grocery. Also, fresh sauerkraut is a lot crispier, and you can customize its flavor according to your taste.
Step 1: Slice the Cabbages
Mince the cabbages into small, inch-wide shredded pieces. They should look like shredded, crumpled paper.
Step 2: Mix with Salt
Transfer the shredded cabbage to a large mixing bowl then sprinkle with salt. Massage the salt into the cabbages for about 5-10 minutes until they become slippery and watery.
For added flavor, you can opt to stir in some caraway seeds.
Step 3: Pack the Mason Jar
For this step, you’ll need two jars: a large Mason jar and another smaller one you could easily fit inside the first jar. Make sure they’re both clean, dry, and sterile. Otherwise, the fermentation process won’t work.
Pack the cabbage into the large Mason jars with your clean hands. Every now and then, flatten them and pour out any liquid the shreds produce.
Once you’re done, place the small glass jar inside the big mason jar and weigh down with small, clean pebbles. Then, press the jar down to compress the shredded cabbage before closing the lid.
Step 4: Ferment and Maintain
Ferment the cabbage for around 3-10 days, depending on how much sauerkraut you’re trying to make.
During the process, make sure to press down on the jar to keep the cabbage beneath its liquid. If 24 hours pass and the cabbage still doesn’t sink, throw in one teaspoon of salt and one cup of water.
Step 5: Test and Store
After three days, you can start taste-testing your sauerkraut. There’s no definite time frame on how long you should ferment your cabbages, so you can extend or shorten the process according to your taste.
One batch of fermented sauerkraut should be good for more than two months, if refrigerated. Always use a clean, serving spoon when scooping sauerkraut from the jar
How to Cook Sauerkraut: 3 Sauerkraut Recipes You Might Like
Cooking sauerkraut is all about finding which food options pair well with salty, sour fermented cabbage. Some popular German sauerkraut recipes include:
1. Reuben Sliders
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Looking for an easy-to-make, delicious appetizer to serve to your guests? Then you definitely need to make some Reuben sliders.
Rather than filling up your guests, the main goal of this starter is to stimulate their taste buds with its light, sour flavor.
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
- 16 mini rye toast squares
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/3 cup sauerkraut, drained
- 3 kg corned beef, thinly sliced
- 16 pickle chips, drained
- 1 cup potato chips, crushed
- Kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle relish in a small bowl then stir with a wooden spoon or tablespoon. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the mixture. Set aside.
- Cut the crust and edges off of the toast squares. They should end up looking like circles.
- Spread salted butter on one side of each toast then place them on a baking sheet with the buttered portion facing down.
- Afterward, take the dressing mixture you set aside and spread one teaspoon of it on each slice of toast.
- Add a folded piece of corned beef and two slices of Swiss cheese on top of every toast.
- Bake for 3-5 minutes until the cheese melts.
- Take out from the oven and serve on a large platter. Top off each slice of toast with sauerkraut, a dill pickle chip, and potato crisps.
2. Top Dog Frankfurter
Cook Time: 10 minutes
A good, easy way to cook sauerkraut is to prepare it alongside a hot dog sandwich. This recipe is a staple among sports fans, students, and busy working adults in Germany.
It’s an easy-to-cook dish that’s convenient to carry around. You can even eat them while you’re walking!
- 4 frankfurters or knockwurst
- 1 1/2 cup prepared sauerkraut, drained
- 1/4 cup mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 pieces French bread, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Mix the brown sugar, mustard powder, turmeric, salt, vinegar, and wine in a small bowl. Keep stirring until they form a smooth, rich mixture.
- Add one teaspoon of warm water, keep mixing, and then let it chill for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Then, toast the French bread in the oven.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan.
- Once the pan is ready, cook the sausages for five minutes until they turn golden-brown.
- Afterward, place the sausage inside the French bread, season with the mustard mixture, and then top off with sauerkraut.
3. German Sausage Pot
Cook Time: 1 hour (inactive), 15 minutes (active)
A sausage and sauerkraut combo is the German equivalent of America’s favorite bacon and egg breakfast. It’s popular among all Germans, young and old, rich and poor.
These two go well together because they complement each other’s flavors. The sour, salty sauerkraut rinses the grease off of your tongue making your palate more sensitive to the flavors of the sausage you’re eating.
Also, it’s a great, versatile meal you can eat at almost any time of the day. It also goes well with alcoholic drinks such as German schnapps, beer, and liquor.
- 2.5 kg assorted sausage pack
- 5 hot dogs
- 2 bottles Turbodog beer
- 3 onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 kg sauerkraut
- 2 bacon slices, minced
- 1/2 cup mustard
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- Pork rind
- Green onions
- Creole seasoning
- Black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot and then saute the onion slices for two minutes.
- Afterward, add in the bacon and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Fry for five minutes until the bacon and onions turn golden-brown.
- Then, pour in the sausages, sauerkraut, hot dogs, and garlic.
- Heat over medium to high fire until the ingredients begin to boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, place the lid on the pot, and then let the ingredients cook for 45 more minutes.
- Serve on a large plate and then top off with pork rind and creole seasoning.
You don’t have to limit yourself to these sauerkraut recipes. Feel free to explore other similar meals you think you might enjoy!
Sauerkraut has a dominating sour taste with slight hints of salt and chili. It generally pairs well with anything dry, fried, or baked such as a sandwich, cheese pizza, pork loin, sausage, or a slice of deli meat.
Do you know how to cook sauerkraut? Share your go-to German-style recipes with us in the comments section below!
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